Local drivers complete Safe Driving Rewards program

Motorists in the Smoky River region continue to reap the rewards of a program aimed towards educating the public about safe driving habits.
Marie St. Laurent, agent for The Co-operators and Alberta Registries in Falher, revealed recently that another three drivers have successfully completed the Safe Driving Rewards Program.
They include: Robert Gour (who completed the program April 21), Dawn Lefebvre (July 10) and Steven Cloutier (July 16).
St. Laurent says she’s proud of the achievements of all three drivers, adding the program has benefited them in more ways than one.
“I think the program is great way of promoting the fact that there are many responsible young drivers out there. It rewards them financially and recognizes each of them for their good driving habits,” St. Laurent said last week.
The Safe Driving Rewards Program was launched in November of 1996 as a way of helping people between the ages of 16 and 23 develop responsible driving habits on rural roads and highways.
“The program basically provides them with an incentive to drive three years without any tickets or collisions,” said St. Laurent, adding drivers are allowed one comprehensive claim while under the umbrella of the program.
The Safe Driving Rewards Program operates on an ongoing basis through the Falher office and is available free of charge to any motorist who is interested in participating. The only catch for new applicants is that they are required to have an automobile insurance policy in place with The Co-operators prior to registering for the program.
Additional qualifications to enter the program include: having either a minimum of three years driving experience or a driver’s training certificate.
Drivers must also be accident free and have no more than one ticket on their driver’s abstract within the past year.
Drivers taking part in the program sign a partnership contract with The Co-operators agreeing to all of the undersigned rules and conditions prior to beginning their four-year training course.
Successful completion of the program for the first three years qualifies drivers for a fourth year reward period.
St. Laurent says drivers who receive a passing grade in the fourth and final year of the contract have their liability premiums paid for by The Co-operators.
They also have the option of entering the program once again, providing they are still under the age of 23.
A Motor Vehicle Report is issued to every driver involved in the program on a yearly basis.
From there, the report is then reviewed by a representative of The Co-operators and the driver to ensure no collisions or convictions have taken place during the year.
St. Laurent says she is hopeful that getting the word out to the public will help others realize the importance of the program and having a clean driving record.
“Hopefully, other drivers who see so many of their peers successfully complete the program, feel encouraged to do the same,” she said.
“Safe driving habits mean safer highways and streets for everyone and that’s something that can only be viewed as positive.”
According to statistical data obtained through The Co-operators, one in seven licensed drivers in North America is involved in a collision each year.
Approximately one out of every 3,000 drivers is killed in the process.
A total of nine people have now successfully graduated the Safe Driving Rewards program since its launch in November of 1996.
The six previous drivers include: Nadine Brochu (August of 2000), Cory Yaremko (October of 2000), Carolyn Dubrule (October 2000), Sheryl Thibault (January of 2001), Victor Gagnon (February of 2001) and Jean Desharnais (May of 2000).
All driver who pass the program receive a roadside safety kit, complete with a flashlight, booster cables, first aid kit and other items.
To learn more about the program, contact St. Laurent at 837-2534.