Automated intersection cameras to catch speeders called ‘photo radar’ by critics


WATCH: The provincial government says 35-speed cameras will be activated at intersections across B.C. to catch lead-footed drivers. The government says the camera will make our roads safer. But, as Kendall Hanson reports, critics say it’s all about the money.

The intersection at Aulds Road and the Island Highway in Nanaimo is among B.C.’s most dangerous.

Every year, on average, there are 54 crashes and 23 people are injured.

It’s one of six intersections on Vancouver Island that already has a red light camera but starting this summer, the camera at the Aulds Road and Island Highway intersection will be activated to catch speeders as well.

The province said speed cameras will increase road safety but BC’s Liberals are criticizing the plan.

“The intended purpose of those cameras was to reduce intersection crashes and I think that should still be maintained as the intended purpose,” said Mike Morris, the Public Safety Critic. “It appears they may be repurposing it to gain some extra revenue from speeders perhaps.”

The government isn’t revealing how much over the speed limit drivers will have to be going to for an automated ticket to be issued.

And it will be the registered owner who will be responsible to pay the tickets regardless of who is driving.

But one lawyer, who has represented numerous people injured at this intersection, said speed cameras are a positive step.

“Just having the signs up alone, indicating that there’s a speed controlled intersection ahead should have the net effect of slowing people down and in that intersection, in particular, that’s a good thing,” said Greg Phillips of Johnston, Franklin and Bishop Lawyers.

In the 90s the NDP introduced photo-radar. It proved to be unpopular with drivers. The BC Liberals promised to axe the program leading up to the 2001 election. Once elected they scrapped it.

Critics say what’s being introduced is photo radar by another name.

“It doesn’t do anything to address the driver’s behaviours that are often associated with the high-speed collisions at intersections such as drugs and alcohol and unlicensed drivers,” said Derek Lewers of SENSE BC.

But the government said the speeding tickets will only be issued if the evidence is clear and they won’t come with penalty points or affect the owner’s ICBC premiums.

Where red light and speed cameras are located can be found here.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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