BIBLE HILL - You're sitting in your car on the side of the road talking on the cellphone and all of a sudden an RCMP cruiser pulls up behind you.
‘Uh, oh,' you think. ‘What's that about? I'm not doing anything wrong.'
Precisely. And under the above scenario, chances are, that instead of receiving any sort of ticket, the officer is approaching to offer you a treat certificate for practicing good driving behaviour by pulling over to make your call.
Welcome to the Driver Rewards Program, an initiative formed through a partnership between the Colchester RCMP officers and the Cobequid chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
"It's an opportunity for the public to be recognized for good behaviour," said RCMP Const. Cheryl MacKinnon, who coordinated a partnership with MADD for the local initiative after hearing of its efforts in New Brunswick when her own brother was rewarded with a certificate for pizza and pop after he was seen pulling over to the side of the road to make a phone call.
"Often, unfortunately, our contact is at times negative and it's at these moments (under the Driver Reward Program) that we can say more than just thank you for doing a good job," she said. "We're giving them a small token of our appreciation for doing things the way you're supposed to be doing them."
Cobequid MADD members routinely participate in roadside spot checks with the RCMP and MacKinnon said it was a natural extension of that effort to introduce a reward program for good driving behaviour.
"So, there is a lot of avoidable collisions and fatalities, all as a result of cellphones (and other forms of distracted driving)," MacKinnon said.
"This was just a new way to approach a relationship that we already had."
It also offers officers "a nice balance to have positive interactions while doing our job," she said.
While MADD's primary objective is to help keep drinking drivers off the road, promoting road safety is also a mandate of MADD Canada, said Amanda Morrisey, president of the Cobequid chapter.
"So it's the perfect partnership for both the RCMP and MADD to promote road safety in the community," she said.
The program, which began in June, is beginning a second wave of handing out certificates because the RCMP members have been so keen in participating and handing them out, MacKinnon said.
And Morrisey said the local businesses she has approached so far have also been happy to take part.
"It's the community supporting the community," she said, while adding, however, that they are hoping to add more sponsorships to the reward program.
And MacKinnon said the current plan is to keep the program running for as long as they have community support.
"The first round went really quick. It was really popular with the membership and it was really popular with the community," she said. "So that has sort of spiraled into more donations and now we're on our second wave."
Some of the driver reward participants so far include Tim Horton's, Dairy Queen, McDonalds, Revanna's Pizza and Above and Beyond Home Décor.