We’re not actually trying to hurt anyone
The idea behind photo radar is to slow drivers down by ticketing “speeders” offering a disincentive to “speeding.” There are a litany of flaws with this approach. Most drivers are aware of these flaws but they’re prepared to live with them. Others feel that if you don’t “speed,” you won’t get a photo radar ticket. These drivers also feel that if you “speed,” you deserve to get a ticket.
If you’re looking at this website, you’re probably in the camp that feels photo radar is opportunistic and predatory and you know why I keep putting the word “speed” in quotation marks. I’d like to address a particular aspect of photo radar that really bothers me: Photo radar in playground zones and more recently, municipalities’ decision to put photo radar in school zones now that the “speed” limit is 30 km/hr all day long, even when the kids are inside the school.
Most people think playground zones are the perfect place to put photo radar and maybe even that they’re the only places where photo radar should be. In my opinion, photo radar in playground zones epitomizes everything that’s wrong with photo radar. If manned enforcement should be anywhere it’s in playground zones and school zones. But the reason they don’t put manned enforcement there is because people don’t actually speed through playground zones and school zones. Here’s why.
Photo radar in playground zones assumes that drivers are not paying attention to their surroundings. Does anyone think for a moment that a driver would not notice a child running across the road? Does anyone think a driver would not slam on the brakes to stop when they see a child running across the road?
Automated enforcement is placed in playground zones all year long. We got a ticket on Boxing Day a few years ago in Stony Plain when it was -30 degrees outside. Trust me. There was no one in the playground which is why we drove through it going 40 km/hr not 30 km/hr. Anyone who would call this speeding is not playing with a full deck. One early evening in the spring time when playgrounds are busy because we’ve been cooped up all winter long, I saw four cop cars go through there at I’m guessing about 80 km/hr. If it’s not safe for one car to go through a playground zone on a -30 degree day in the winter doing 40 km/hr, how it could possibly be safe for four cars to go through it at 80 km/hr on a warm spring evening? Apparently, police officers must be paying closer attention to their surroundings and have much, much, MUCH faster reflexes than the average person.
So, if people are not paying attention to their surroundings when they’re driving, the only solution is to force them to drive very slow so the damage if they accidentally drive into something will be minimized. The medical profession has decided to wade in on this:
If you’re not sure what you want to be when you grow up, check into a Medical Road Engineering Degree.
If drivers weren’t paying attention to their surroundings, there would be carnage on the roads. Massive, unbridled carnage. Drivers are not blind, their vision is tested before a license is dispensed. So if drivers are not blind, then they must not be paying attention. It’s probably “safe” to say that drivers are paying attention because they’re not hell bent on killing themselves and everyone else – including children playing the playground or crossing the street at their school. But that’s how we are treated – like maniacal killers. We are supposed to feel ashamed for going 40 km/hr in a playground zone when there is no one in the playground. In that particular playground zone, there is a baseball field across the street and when baseball season starts (now) and there’s cars and kids, you should just see the cars crawling through there. Why? Because they’re being careful! All on their own! And guess what? There’s no automated enforcement then. Why? Because they know they won’t catch anyone. People are paying attention and slowing down because there are people and kids walking around.
To prove my point that law makers believe drivers are either not paying attention or are deliberately trying to hurt people, when I was at the court house in Stony Plain to pay that playground zone ticket, a town councillor was also there paying for a red light ticket in Spruce Grove (don’t get me started on that!), joking with other drivers about their “speeding.” Some of these “speeders” were old! She asked me what kind of ticket I had (she seemed to be enjoying her time there). I told her it was in the playground zone down the street on Boxing Day. I told her I thought photo radar was opportunistic and predatory pointing out there was no one there due to it being -30 degrees that day. She said she thought people who go 40 km/hr through there are predatory. I’m predatory??! I don’t think she knows what predatory means.
In summary, not only is photo radar predatory and opportunistic, it’s an affront to drivers. As a mother of five, I resent being made to feel that I would do anything to hurt someone. If there was a child anywhere within eye shot, believe me, I would be driving even more carefully than I usually do. I’m not blind nor am I intent on hurting anyone or myself.