New Collier County safety initiative offers drivers gift cards instead of tickets

SUV pulling up to an Advance Auto Parts. Credit: WINK News

On Friday, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is unveiling a new initiative aimed at encouraging safer driving by giving motorists car repair gift cards instead of tickets if they are pulled over for equipment violations.

Many of us have been stopped for a broken tail light or brake light and have received a citation, but that won’t be the case with the Advance Auto Parts Road Safety Program. It has already been enacted in other cities across the country. Advance Auto Parts is donating $2,500 to CCSO so deputies can give $25 gift cards to drivers who get pulled over for equipment violations, allowing them to repair their cars and keep the roads safer.

“Most of the time, motorists in their daily lives don’t realize they have a light out,” said Angel Cabrera, commercial account manager for Advance Auto Parts. “We’re always here to help out.”

“They’re going to have $25 to come to the store and get whatever they need,” said Yamira Santiago, district manager for Advance Auto Parts. “Brake light, headlight, you know, whatever they need, just… like I said before, to prevent accidents and making sure they are safe on the road.”

The gift cards can be redeemed at any Advance Auto Parts store or online.

One Collier County motorist, John Christmas, says this program is good news because he’s been stopped several times and given citations for faulty equipment, but he’ll believe it when he sees it.

“I think it’s a positive thing,” Christmas said. “I really like it: ‘Here’s $25, go fix your truck,’ there’s nothing wrong with that. Again, until I see it in action and somebody tells me I had a broken tail light and the sheriff gave me a [gift card] and I got my light fixed… until I see that happen, it’s just words.”

This $2,500 is a one-time donation from Advance Auto Parts, but CCSO can choose to continue the program if it proves successful.

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