Suffolk County police officers to stop issuing traffic tickets for broken car lights

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Thursday, April 21, 2022
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SUFFOLK COUNTY, Long Island (WABC) -- Getting a ticket for a broken tail light is a nuisance Suffolk County drivers won't have to deal with anymore thanks to a new initiative.

The Lights On! Initiative gives Suffolk County police officers the ability to provide drivers with vouchers to pay for broken headlights, taillights, and break signals instead of issuing a ticket.

"For some of our residents, a minor traffic ticket can turn into so much more, causing an unnecessary financial burden, and even worse, trouble with the legal system," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.

Bellone said he thinks the program will also help build trust between the SCPD and the community.

Lights On! is a national program that a dozen other police departments have already partnered with to help make roads and communities safer without causing a financial burden to drivers.

Suffolk County will use grant funds and a donation to invest $70,000 into the program.

The Lights On! initiative is the latest step the county is taking in its Police Reform and Reinvention plan.

The goal is to disparities in traffic stops and put the focus on more serious traffic violations.

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Through this program, instead of punishing drivers for broken lights, we can extend a helping hand to someone in need and help them fix the mechanical issue that they are experiencing and mitigate what often becomes a negative police encounter and downward spiral for community members in need," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said.

The county is also calling on local body shops and mechanics to join the initiative and accept the vouchers for these minor auto repairs.

If issued a voucher, drivers will be able to redeem them at participating auto repair shops that are vetted by the Lights On! program.

The vouchers are worth up to $250 and the program reimburses the auto shops for the cost.

Drivers will have 14 days to use the voucher and SCPD will enter anyone who has received one into the system so they're not stopped repeatedly during that grace period.

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