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speed cameras

Speed cameras introduced at 35 BC intersections

The BC government has gone ahead with plans to introduce intersection speed cameras. The plan was not without controversy with many critics calling it a return of the widely-hated photo radar of the 1990s.

The program has been a lesson in how to roll out a potentially unpopular policy. The drawn-out nature of the introduction of speed cameras took out the sting for large sections of the public.

Locations of speed cameras

It started with the installation of red light cameras at 140 intersections across BC. The provincial government their purpose was to reduce crashes and make the roads safer. However, they were less vocal about their other function: monitoring speed.

While the cameras were busy catching vehicles that run red lights, they were also monitoring speed and collecting data, although not actually issuing tickets. The government has now identified 35 intersections with the “greatest potential for further safety gains” by upgrading them to also enforce speed.

Why the secrecy? Well, it probably has something to do with how unpopular photo radar was when it was implemented in the 1990s. Photo radar was so unpopular, it was scrapped completely in 2001. Drivers saw them pretty much for what they were, a government cash-grab. Promises not to place photo radar at the bottom of hills in areas where there were not serious concerns over speed were not kept. The BC government knew this new policy was in danger of being thought of in the same way so it had to sugar-coat it a bit. It seems to have worked. For something that was greeted unfavourably when it was first announced, the tide seems to have turned with more people either accepting or indifferent of red light cameras.

There are still others out there who see the scheme as something else: a cash-grab. The system also has inherent flaws. It relies on photographic evidence to back up the speeding ticket. Most speeding tickets rely on an officer’s visual estimation corroborated by a laser speed detection device reading. It’s not clear whether photographs can be used as stand-alone evidence without an officer first making a visual estimation. There is no one present who is actually confirming if the camera is being triggered at the appropriate speed to ensure it is operating reliably. Because they lack human corroboration, we are confident that people will be able to challenge these kinds of speeding tickets.

There is also a question of whether the cameras will actually reduce speeding. The cameras will not be able to identify the driver so no points or infractions will be added to the driver’s record. Instead, a ticket will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. With only a financial penalty and no other disincentives, many drivers will simply write this off because they think it will be less trouble than getting it overturned.

The government is also not telling drivers what speed threshold will activate the cameras, which could lead to people driving much slower than they need to through the intersection, which in and of itself can be dangerous.

The list of automated speed enforcement cameras can be found here.

What to do if you get a red-light speeding ticket

If you get one of these tickets we recommend you hire a lawyer to fight it. Speeding tickets in BC are usually around $368.

BC Driving Lawyers has achieved positive outcomes in traffic court for countless clients. If you get a ticket for running a red light issued by a camera at an intersection. These devices mistakenly issue tickets all the time and they are open to dispute.

Call us today on 604-608-1200.

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