IC police to give out vouchers to help drivers get broken headlights fixed

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A new effort in Iowa City is encouraging drivers with burned out headlights or tail lights to get them fixed for free.

Some people are hard pressed for time and money to get their broken headlights or brake lights fixed. Now, if an officer pulls you over in Iowa City, he or she might give the driver a voucher to get the light replaced for free. The program is called B.U.L.B.S. or Building Unity Linking Businesses for Safety. It's modeled after a program in the Twin Cities. Iowa City police said the BULBS vouchers will help give drivers one less thing to stress about.

"This will just be a way to alleviate some of that for a community member and to stop getting pulled over and to make the streets safe," said Lieutenant Denise Brotherton with the Iowa City Police Department.

The program is a community policing project so it's being paid for using forfeiture funds. That includes money seized from things like drug busts. One shop owner said drivers should check their lights frequently as winter gets closer. Drivers can check their headlights when they pull up behind another vehicle. They can check their rear lights when backing into a parking space with a wall behind you. He said B.U.L.B.S. is a win-win for everyone.

"We get a chance to get people in to look at their cars. People don't get a ticket or fix it ticket which puts them in the hole. This way, they come out ahead because the police will take care of the bill," said Al Morgan with Spenler Tires and Service in Iowa City.

The vouchers aren't openly available to the public. Only officers can give them out at their discretion. Drivers can take the voucher to one of the repair shops participating in the Bulbs program. Those businesses are listed below.

Cermak Automotive
Dodge St. Tire & Auto
Iowa City Tire & Service
Linder Tire Services-Iowa City
Midas-Iowa City
Phil’s Repair
Skay Automotive
Tuffy-Iowa City
Spenler Tire Services
Spenler Tire East