Delivery men in blue

Alex Ballingall

Delivery men in blue_wideWhen a cop pulls up behind you on the side of the road, what do you typically expect to happen? At best, a gentle warning; at worst, some time in the slammer. In Fredericton, it appears you may be treated to a free pizza courtesy of the local Pizza Hut—if you’re following the rules.

The Fredericton Police Force launched an initiative last week giving free pizzas to drivers who choose to pull over when fiddling with their cellphones. Police take their licence plate numbers so they can mail drivers coupons for a free, medium, three-topping pizza from Pizza Hut. Drivers’ names will also be entered in a draw for a Bluetooth headset.

“Our officers are really excited about it,” Const. Rick Mooney of the Fredericton Police Force tells Maclean’s. “I think it will create dialogue around the issue.” The issue is distracted driving, which Mooney blames for 80 per cent of vehicle collisions. On June 6, New Brunswick enacted a new law stipulating a fine of $172.50 for those caught texting and using their phones without headsets while driving. Ever since, Mooney says, police have noticed a number of people pulling to the side of the road to use their phones. The free pizzas, he says, are meant to reward the public and encourage more discussion about distracted driving. “Why not try something different and actually put a thank you out there and tell people we appreciate that?” Mooney says. “Hopefully we’ll see some good results.”

And if they do, what’s next—candy canes for sober drivers at Christmas?