WATCH: The CRD is voting on a proposal to place interval-based speed cameras on the Malahat. But opponents call it a “cash grab” that won’t work. Isabelle Raghem reports.
Drivers could soon see new technology on the Malahat, as the Capital Regional District is looking at a proposal for interval-based speed cameras on the highway.
“The goal is to kill no one on that highway, to cut down the number of crashes and minimize the number of road closures,” Chris Foord, vice chair of the CRD Traffic Safety Commission, said.
Foord says speed cameras would be more efficient and a lot less costly than having cops catching speeders.
“They’re always picking up somebody doing 135, 145 or worse. I guess our feeling is that the worst of the speed demons should not go unchallenged if there’s no police officer there,” Foord said.
Unlike the controversial photo radar, which was scrapped by the government in 2001, interval cameras calculate the speed it takes for cars to travel between two locations.
“It’s effectively the idea that you can put a camera and license plate radar at the Goldstream entrance for example and another one at Mill Bay. It’s 19 minutes to do the 20 kilometres at the speed limit. So you pick a threshold limit and if you’ve done it in 14, 15 minutes you get a ticket,” Foord explained.
The group Sense BC say tracking all drivers, not just those driving dangerously, won’t work. They say a big part of the problem is the speed limit itself, which they say is too low.
“The limit on the Malahat is 80, but the 85th percentile is 95. So if you enforce it, this is a bit extreme but it’s legally possible, you’ll be ticketing everybody for driving safely,” says Chris Thompson with Safe BC.
Thompson said the cameras would be a cash grab that simply wouldn’t make things safer.
“When you do enforcement like this, it doesn’t focus on the danger areas. So you don’t know if people were doing ridiculous speed in one particular corner or they were driving safely throughout the whole thing but just 10 or 15 [km/hr] above the limit depending on the conditions”
The CRD votes on the proposal July 12th. If it goes through, it will ask the Cowichan Valley Regional District for support in calling on the province to install the cameras.