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Repair Voucher Program Benefits

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November 19, 2019—Lights On!, a program that helps drivers with broken tail lights, headlights, or brake lights to avoid a citation by giving out a repair voucher instead of giving out a citation, rolled out recently in Minnesota. 

The ‘Lights On! Minnesota’ program, launched by Microgrants, a Minneapolis-based non-profit, has metro police departments surround the Twin Cities-area to not only cut drivers a break but also helping them make a repair, giving them a voucher to get it fixed for free. The program was an idea by former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuelson after the death of Philando Castile, who was pulled over for a brake light being out.

When the participating police departments see a headlight, taillight, or brake light out, they make a traffic stop, but give them the free voucher instead of a ticket.

The Fridley Police Department in Fridley, Minn. has been a part of the program since September and has handed out 22 vouchers last month alone. Courtney Miller of the Fridley Police Department says they have received hugs, handshakes and general "thank yous" for the warning and voucher over a citation.

Since debuting in January, the program has gone from 19 participating police departments to over 60. Eventually, they plan to grow nationwide. The program has not only benefited drivers, but police officers and auto repair shops as well.

Bobby & Steve’s Auto World is one of the shops involved in the Minnesota initiative with eight locations spread throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. area. The auto repair shop works directly with the nonprofit on the program, where the nonprofit covers the cost of the entire service and replacements.

The program gained a lot of attention last year with it being reported on and aired on local TV outlets. Since the auto repair shops joined in on the initiative, approximately 900 vouchers have been turned in. Scheeler says he’s had people come up to him saying that they now only go to Bobby & Steve shops because of their involvement in the community with initiatives like this one.

“It’s a good program that links the program to the police and to the community,” Braden Scheeler, corporate account specialist for Bobby & Steve’s Auto World. “We thought it would be a natural fit to get involved and give back and get people in the door.”

To learn more about the program, visit https://www.lightsonus.org/.

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