Photo Radar Revolt Spreads to Canada

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Jurisdictions throughout the United States have been dropping the use of red light cameras and speed cameras. On Tuesday, the revolt spread to Strathcona County, Canada where the county council voted 5-4 to replace automated ticketing machines with real, live police officers.

“As far as we can tell, other than British Columbia a few years ago, we’re the first jurisdiction in Canada to remove photo radar,” Councillor Brian Botterill told TheNewspaper in an interview.

In 2001, Liberal Party leader Gordon Campbell campaigned in the province of British Columbia with a promise to ban speed cameras. When election day arrived, voters threw out the incumbent NDP party and handed Campbell 77 out of 79 seats in the provincial legislature. Now Botterill and his colleagues are conservatives opposing a policy originally put in place by conservatives in the province of Alberta.

“We see photo radar as a social experiment that failed,” Botterill said. “It was an interesting attempt, but in the end it didn’t work.”

Instead of mobile speed camera vans, Strathcona County will hire five new enforcement services officers, use radar-activated speed boards to warn drivers to slow down and conduct an engineering analysis to maximize safety. The photo enforcement contract with Affiliated Computer Services expires on September 30, so the county will go month-to-month until the new officers are hired, which could take up to nine months. After that happens, the speed vans will be eliminated.

The goal of switching from unmanned enforcement to manned enforcement is to redirect the focus away from ticketing those driving slightly above an underposted speed limit to going after the egregious violators who Botterill contends are the most dangerous. In Canada, 37 percent of fatal accidents were caused by drunk drivers. One out of five accidents were caused by distracted drivers.

“Photo radar could never stop those root causes, but manned enforcement could,” Botterill said. “Let’s focus our limited dollars on the root causes.”

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police report predicted that if the mobile speed cameras were kept they would issue 13,911 tickets and generate $1.2 million in revenue. Of this amount, a $512,000 surplus would be added to county coffers, while five additional officers would cost $270,540 — after taking into account the 8,428 tickets worth $727,010 they would be expected to issue.

“Automated speed enforcement continues to be a significant tool in the long term goal of improving road safety in Strathcona County,” RCMP Sergeant Christian Narbonne argued. “Its use is economical, socially sustainable and environmentally sensitive as per the Strathcona County Strategic Traffic Plan mission statement.”

The majority did not agree with Narbonne. Although the speed cameras will be removed, the red light cameras that generated $237,350 in revenue last year would remain. Instead of removal, the council voted to investigate engineering improvements that would sharply cut down on the number of citations issued.

“We probably shouldn’t be ticketing until the all-red is over,” Botterill said.

The council is also working on a number of other changes to improve safety on county roads. Staff will review and cut on down the number of unnecessary school zones, reducing the current 250 zones to 30 where children actually likely to use the road.


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  • SexCpotatoes SexCpotatoes on Sep 18, 2011

    But how will the officers fit up on the poles?!? (Sorry, I did RTFA, but couldn't resist making a smartass comment)

  • Frizzlefry Frizzlefry on Sep 19, 2011

    "The council is also working on a number of other changes to improve safety on county roads. Staff will review and cut on down the number of unnecessary school zones, reducing the current 250 zones to 30 where children actually likely to use the road." I assume 250 zones is supposed to be 50 zones :) They are doing that in areas where I live and I cannot stand it. That is what we have playground zones for. First, a child is not likely to be on the road at 2:00am so why have the speed reduced then? Second, children do NOT belong on the road. When I was a kid I was told to stay of the road and got a good spanking when I wandered onto it. Nowadays parents seem to be entitled and want their kids to have right of way to whatever they want. On my mother-in-laws street there is some guy who lets his kids play on the road and puts out a homemade "Speed limit 30, children playing" sign on the road...which is illegal. My father-in-law told him off once and even took the sign but the guy just made another one. Yesh. Kids do not belong on the road. Address that rather than lowering speed limits everywhere.

  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
  • El scotto I can get the speedometer from dad's 72 Ford truck back. I can't get dad back.