Caught red handed by a red-light camera? The same camera could now also catch you speeding

Michelle de Leon / May 9, 2019

One of the intersections affected will be Grandview Highway at Rupert Street.
(Caden Fanshaw / BCIT Journalism)

Automated speed cameras on their way this summer

B.C. residents might be automatically issued a ticket if caught speeding through one of 35 intersections across the province, most of which are in the Lower Mainland.

The B.C. government revealed that starting this summer, technology will be installed to existing red-light cameras. The equipment is able to catch speeding vehicles, regardless of whether the light is red, yellow or green at the time.

The province says they will install new warning signs and begin issuing tickets to those travelling “well over” the posted speed limit.  There’s no word on the speed threshold that will activate the cameras.

“We have taken the time to systematically pinpoint the locations linked to crashes and dangerous speeds that are best suited to safely catching, ticketing and changing behaviors of those who cause carnage on B.C. roads.” – Mike Farnworth

Not everyone is on board with the plan

 Will these automated cameras be the right move to get drivers to slow down?

Co-founder of driver advocacy group SENSE BC, Ian Tootill, thinks that there are a lot of problems that come along with automated cameras. He says there are sometimes unintended consequences to photographic enforcement – such as causing non-confident drivers to make dangerous decisions to avoid the cameras.

Tootill explains that people might get upset when they find out that tickets will go to the registered owner of the vehicle, even if they’re not driving the car at the time. This means bad habits aren’t tracked and behaviors can’t be corrected.

Different kinds of crashes have also increased in other jurisdictions, Tootill says. Other cities with automated speed cameras already implemented have seen a rise in rear-ended crashes.

Ian Toothill of SENSE BC believes in education such as vehicle handling training rather than automated speed enforcement.

“The safety benefits are at best, debatable, but at worst, non-existent.” – Ian Tootill

A few things to know about the new technology

 The B.C. Government has released facts about automated cameras to support their decision on updating the traffic equipment.

 

 1. The adoption of automated speed enforcement builds on a 2015 recommendation from the BC Coroners Service to pilot the approach.

 2. Between 2012 and 2016, an average of 10,500 cars went through going at least 30km/h over the posted speed limit.

 3. Speed has been a top contributing factor in casualty crashes at these chosen 35 high-risk intersections, with a combined total of more than 11,500 collisions per year.

 

Interested in which intersections are affected? Below is an interactive map that shows the camera locations throughout the Lower Mainland: