Canada: Motorists Protest Illegal Work Zone Photo Radar

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Officials in Winnipeg, Canada were caught this weekend defying a court ruling that outlawed the use of photo radar in work zones when workers are not present. A group of residents organized by the group WiseUp Winnipeg have decided to fight back, first by recording the automated ticketing van as it operated in a Route 90 “construction zone” on October 10 at 3:30pm with no workers in sight.

In February a judge ruled that speed cameras could be used in reduced 60km/h (37 MPH) zones “only when workers are present” ( view ruling). The judge canceled all the photo tickets brought to his attention, sparking a province-wide debate on whether Winnipeg should have refunded the fines illegally collected. Ultimately, the city refused to do so.

Larry Stefanuik, a former police constable who now helps motorists fight traffic tickets, was shocked at how blatantly the city was violating the law as he recorded the incident. The unmarked ticketing van was not only operating in a workerless zone, it was also positioned less twenty yards from the end of the construction zone barricades.

“I really just could not believe that they would park that close to the end of a construction zone,” Stefanuik said. “It was absolutely ridiculous. It’s inappropriate… They’re obviously trying to take advantage of a motorist who, after being tied up in the slow area of the zone, starts to speed up prematurely as they approach the end and enter a higher speed zone.”

At least one motorist pulled over to speak to the speed camera van driver (see photo). Others began to put out bright yellow warning signs that read “$low Down Photo Enforcement Ahead” to prevent the camera from surprising drivers.

“The only way to stop photo enforcement is to continue to bring out the truth and prevent it from making money,” Stefanuik said. “Without its food source the system goes broke and goes away.”

Studies show that highway construction zone workers are far more likely to be killed in accidents involving their own equipment than by drivers exceeding a work zone speed limit ( view studies). Work zone fatality statistics often include incidents in which workers are hit by construction equipment including dump trucks and asphalt steam rollers.


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  • Don1967 Don1967 on Oct 16, 2009
    If the goal was to get drivers to slow down as they pass through the work zone, the van would be at the beginning of the work zone. I have no problem with speed limits being enforced, but this is clearly a cash grab. Gotta disagree with that. Putting the van at the beginning of the zone would be the ultimate cash grab, since we're all guilty of not slowing down quickly enough sometimes. But putting it in the middle of the zone nails the jerks who deserve it most; the ones who speed all the way through when there are workers present. That said, I'm glad to hear the good citizens of Winnipeg fighting back under the circumstances. Maybe there is hope for us Nanny-Staters after all.
  • Rusted Source Rusted Source on Oct 16, 2009

    I've never been ticketed in a construction zone in Winnipeg but that's probably because I'm a car guy. The entire photo radar program consists of Chrysler products with a few Taurus wagons as carry-over from the past. So now everytime I see a Chrysler product (mostly Calibers, Journeys, Patriots and vans) parked at the side of the road, which is really obvious at construction sites, I slow down to the posted limit and pass. A quick glance in the rear view mirror confirms the equipment mounted to the front of the vehicle. It pays/saves to be a car guy.

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