Is it really about safety?
Let's compare some statistics from cities/regions in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.
In 2014, Edmonton (photo radar only) issued 12 times more speeding violations than Ottawa (no photo radar), a city with a comparable population. Since photo radar is making Edmonton streets safer, we should see a much lower collision/fatality rate per capita than Ottawa right? Have a look below.
Despite issuing 12 times more tickets than Ottawa, Edmonton has a higher average fatality rate.
Yet, Edmonton still has a higher collision rate per 100k people averaged from 2011 to 2014.
Ratio of tickets to population across various cities in Canada (2014)
Swipe left to view more of the table.
|City/Region||Population||# of tickets||Ratio|
|Durham Region (No Photo Radar)||600k||49,000||1:12|
|Ottawa (No Photo Radar)||880k||42,000||1:20|
|Toronto (No Photo Radar)||2.6m||218,000||1:12|
|Winnipeg (Photo Radar)||600k||150,000||1:4|
|Edmonton (Photo Radar)||880k||486,000||1:2|
Source: FOIP & nophotoradar.ca
But look at those revenues
Photo enforcement generates a huge amount of money. We asked Edmonton for their revenue numbers through a FOIP request but they ignored us (don't worry, a complaint has been filed). We also asked Calgary, they were a little more willing to provide their numbers, however they wanted over $4,000 to provide their most ticketed areas in relation to their highest collision areas (Calgary responses are bolded).
Why use computers when you can keep everything in filing cabinets?
Source: FOIP Request
So how do they do it?
Like this. Photo radar vehicles hide so they cannot be seen by passing traffic. Ask yourself this: which scenario is more likely to change dangerous driving habits immediately? Here are a few possible answers:
- Hide behind trees, an overpass, or any structure so enforcement cannot be seen and mail the driver a ticket weeks later that does not affect his or her driving record.
- Park out in the open where drivers can see that if they do not slow down, they will be ticketed and mailed a ticket weeks later, but it will still not affect his or her driving record.
- Have an officer of the law who will use his or her sense of judgement and take the dangerous drivers off the road by intervening immediately.
Taken at: St. Albert Trail & 134 Avenue
The answer should be obvious. Photo enforcement will not take dangerous, drunk, erratic drivers off the road. What it will do, is mail a possible drunk driver a minor tax weeks later for exceeding the speed limit. A drunk driver, who may just take a family's lives up ahead will not be stopped by photo radar; immediate police intervention can save that family's lives. Which one would you choose?
At startup, photo radar cost Edmonton taxpayers $47,000,000 more than expected
The city of Edmonton spent $47 million dollars more than expected of taxpayer money after it decided to take over the photo radar program in 2007. In 2014 a review was done on the operating costs of photo radar in Edmonton, let's have a look.
Coincidentally, photo radar tickets skyrocketed after the city took over the program
In 2011, the Edmonton Police Service still ran the photo radar program. In 2012, the city started taking over the program and by 2013 were fully running it. Let's have a look at the difference in ticket numbers when the Edmonton Police Service fully handed the program over to the city in 2013.
In the first year when the program was fully ran by the city of Edmonton, the number of tickets issued to motorists increased by a staggering 159%, or 259,724 tickets. We don't think this is a coincidence, but a realization of the revenues that can be made by ticketing the majority of motorists, most of which are driving safely and with the flow of traffic.
Source: Global News FOIP Request
Let's break those numbers down even further:
Swipe left to view more of the table.
EPS runs program
EPS & City run program
City runs program
City runs program
|6 - 10 km/h||2,462||3,252||12,403||63,616|
|11 - 15 km/h||38,222||42,868||109,096||204,386|
|16 - 20 km/h||76,689||85,027||203,721||152,688|
|More than 20 km/h||29,981||31,849||97,500||65,630|
Infraction categories are based over posted speed limit.
Source: Global News FOIP Request
"The use of automated enforcement significantly reduces speeding. It is proven to reduce collisions and the resulting injuries, and moves Edmonton towards zero fatalities and major injuries."
The answer would be no, Edmontonians are just terrible drivers according to police Chief Rod Knecht.
If that's really the case, why are we not focusing on driver education instead of more enforcement? Surely if Edmontonians are terrible drivers the smartest solution would be to educate them instead of taxing the "speed demons" going 6 km/h over the limit. Education doesn't generate revenue though, so the obvious solution is to tax them, right? Priorities.
Source: City of Edmonton | Motor Vehicle Collision Report 2015
Deadly roads: Fatal collisions in 2015 soar above Edmonton totals of past five years
(Discrepancy in 2015 (1) due to police response vs. city statistics)
Historical Collision Statistics
Have a look at the chart to the right (or below on mobile). You may be wondering why there was such a significant drop in collisions beginning in 2011. While the city might try and tell you it is due to photo radar and other enforcement tactics, the real reason for the sharp decline is the Alberta goverment changed the threshold at which you must report the collsion to the police. As of January 1, 2011, any collision with damages exceeding $2,000 must be reorted to police, and prior to that date it was $1,000.
Our collision rate is only slightly better than it was 15 years despite a ten-fold increase in speed and red light enforcement.
Infographics from our partners at nophotoradar.ca
Click any image to enlarge and cycle through the gallery.
Let's talk about intersection cameras
You don't want anybody running red lights or speeding through intersections and neither do we, but here's something you might not know: intersections with cameras have been linked to higher collision rates than those without. Why you ask? They have been found to increase the frequency of rear end collisions due to abrupt stopping in fear of getting fined. Cities around the globe have terminated intersection cameras for this reason as well as running them strictly for profits. Here's just a few examples:
- Red Light Cams Linked to Increased Rear-End Collisions in Chicago
- Los Angeles Red Light Cameras Lead To Increased Accidents
- Scholars Uncover Flaws in Red Light Camera Research
- Report Critiques Red Light Camera Research Methods
We have sent in official FOIP requests to the city of Edmonton for statistics in the high collision intersections and what the collision numbers were before and after they were installed. They have yet to get back to us and an official complaint has been filed. We're starting to think they're ignoring us for a reason.
Shorter yellow light timing
Many cities have been accused or caught for shortening yellow light timing in order to maximize profits from red light cameras. While cities in Alberta have yet to do so or have yet to be caught, we would not be surprised to see this happen given the photo enforcement greed that exists in the province. Let's make a change before we get to that point - longer yellow light timing results in a significant decrease in red light violations.
See our plan of action, sign our unofficial petition and send an email to those responsible for change. Take action now!
Tired of being penalized two weeks later for driving safely with the flow of traffic? We are too. Let's put an end to the photo radar cash-grab once and for all.Learn More
We believe speed limits should be set based on science, driver behaviour and actual studies instead of being set by politicians for monetary gain. Do you? Learn more below.Learn More
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