Red light camera tickets return to BC
We don’t want to say we told you so, but we told you so. British Columbia drivers should get ready to open their chequebooks for the government’s latest cash grab. The Provincial government has confirmed they are bringing back red light camera tickets to intersections throughout the province. They will be upgrading existing Intersection Safety Cameras (ISC), or red light cameras, to identify and ticket speeding drivers. The menace of speed cameras has returned.
There are 140 red light cameras in British Columbia and many of them are located in high traffic areas around the Lower Mainland. Here is a map of all of the red light cameras currently in operation in BC. Many of them could be doling out tickets on unsuspecting drivers in the near future under the government’s new plan.
We previously warned about what happened the last time the government introduced a speed camera photo radar system. It was reviled as a licence for the government to print money. It was so hated it was scrapped in 2001 after much public outcry. This time around the government is being sneakier about it, but they will likely still put a heavy burden on BC drivers.
The BC government hasn’t announced a threshold for how fast you have to be going to get a ticket. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said tickets will be distributed to speeders regardless of whether or not the light is a green, yellow, or red light. This means even so much as accelerating to make a green light could net you a ticket.
Red light speed cameras will become like photo radar
Make no mistake. These new red light speed cameras will likely have all the problems their predecessors did. The government is saying crash and speed data provided by the cameras will inform how they activate the red light cameras for speed enforcement. They also claim this will be a more transparent process than the photo radar program that ended in 2001, which involved unmarked vans in random locations and issued tickets at low-speed thresholds.
You might think this means the government will set appropriate limits and only ticket on cameras where the data shows speeding to be a problem. Here’s why you shouldn’t believe that: the same kind of promises were made last time. The first time the government proposed photo radar they promised they would not be placed at the bottom of hills or in low traffic areas, but eventually they ended up there anyway. The program turned into a cash cow costing BC drivers millions.
It’s a safe bet that this program will be turned into yet another cash grab for the government, especially as they try to solve the “financial dumpster fire” that is ICBC. Their announcement even uses alleviating ICBC’s claim costs as a justification for the photo radar cameras.
[pullquote]“Working to reduce crashes at these intersections will also have a positive impact on ICBC’s claims costs, and will help keep rates affordable for British Columbians,” it says.[/pullquote]
These cameras were also susceptible to interference induced readings where the cameras picked up mechanical and electrical interference. This interference resulted in innocent drivers getting ticketed. In the final year of the photo radar program, the government collected $2.3 million from BC drivers.
You should always dispute a speeding ticket
But what can you do if you get a speeding ticket from a red light camera?
In our previous warning about the dangers of photo radar, former cop Grant Gottgetreu noted these tickets were challengeable because they lacked a visual estimation. The first step in issuing a speeding ticket needs to be a cop visually confirming a person is driving too fast. Unless the government intends to station a cop at every intersection where they have red light cameras, there will not be a visual estimation by human eyes. In British Columbia, radar is not “stand alone evidence” therefore any speeding ticket coming from a red light camera is challengable in court.
[pullquote]“Anyone who gets a speeding ticket from a red light camera should call a lawyer and fight it,” Gottgetreu said.[/pullquote]
We don’t yet have the details on things like the threshold or how the tickets will be distributed for these forthcoming red light speed cameras. When they start issuing tickets, BC drivers could be facing steep ticket costs. We will be following the BC government’s announcements and what that means for drivers. We’ve been defending BC drivers for decades and will not be stopping once the latest attempt at a speed camera scheme is unleashed.
Running a red light can cost you
Currently, red light cameras target drivers who fail to stop at a red light. If you go through a red light camera intersection when the light is red, the camera will send a snapshot of your licence plate along with the date, time and location to the intersection safety camera office. An officer will review the details and may choose to issue a charge under the Motor Vehicle Act and send you a ticket. Failure to stop at a red light can cost you $167, and you could also receive two demerit points on your licence.
If you want to dispute a ticket issued by a red light camera, you have 30–45 days to submit your dispute depending on whether you received the ticket in person or in the mail. A good first step is contacting a lawyer. They can help you navigate the courts including helping you to submit your dispute and get your court date. If you need to fight a ticket issued by a red light camera, call for a free consultation.