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City-parish employees could be fined for traffic accidents

1 year 9 months 1 week ago January 13, 2015 Jan 13, 2015 Tuesday, January 13 2015 January 13, 2015 5:16 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Mark Armstrong

BATON ROUGE- City-parish employees in Baton Rouge could face fines for driving recklessly and causing preventable accidents with city-parish owned vehicles.

The Office of Risk Management will propose new policies Wednesday to the Metropolitan Council to stop what some call an unacceptable level of traffic-violations.

"What we want to prevent is drivers that are out there driving recklessly, not paying attention to what's really going on when they're driving. And just like when they're driving there own personal vehicle, there's some consequences for driving in a manner that's not exactly safe," said District 10 councilwoman, Tara Wicker.

Employees who drive recklessly could face a number of penalties if multiple incidents occur over a three-year period. The penalties include:

-Paying up to $500 to repair a damaged vehicle.
-Employees being suspended from their jobs.
-Workers losing the privilege to take home a city-parish vehicle.

But leaders with the police union say its unfair to ask employees to pay out of pocket for an accident. "If it's an accident, it's an accident. That's why we have insurance," said the president of the Baton Rouge Union of Police, Chris Stewart.

Stewart only wants employees to pay for damages in extreme cases, but doesn't think they should be required to pay for most accidents simply because employees don't make enough money. "I would hate to know i would be responsible for paying for an accident," said Stewart.

According to city-parish officials, the idea isn't to fine their employees, but to simply create policies that encourage safe driving.

"My husband is a former state trooper, so I understand the need and the necessity for police officers to drive and maintain their own vehicles in a manner that let's them do their job. But at the same time i do think that comes with some responsibility," Wicker said.

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