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Automated speed enforcement now active at 5 Metro Van intersections
British Columbia's government says it has activated five red light cameras in Metro Vancouver capable of automatically ticketing speeders.
The technology is part of a road safety initiative announced back in May. Eventually, a total of 35 cameras across the province will be equipped with technology capable of detecting speeding vehicles and automatically fining their registered owners.
- Scroll down or click here for an interactive map of affected intersections
"Each of these five intersections has a sad history of people being killed or seriously injured in crashes where high speed is a factor," Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said Monday from the corner of Kingsway and Boundary Road, one of the five affected intersections.
The other four are Granville Street at West King Edward Avenue, Kingsway and Victoria Drive, 152 Street and King George Boulevard and Lougheed Highway at Old Dewndey Trunk Road.
The government has revealed the location of all 35 traffic cameras. It is not disclosing the speed threshold that will trigger automated enforcement, but Solicitor General Mike Farnworth put it in rather simple terms on Monday: "If you drive like a normal person, you're not going to get a ticket. Drive like a self-entitled jerk, you'll get a ticket."
The speed-detecting cameras work by taking three photos—before, in and after the intersection—and use that information to calculate vehicle speed. They can then trigger a speeding ticket between $138 and $483. Those caught running a red light and speeding will be dinged for both offences.
But drivers CTV spoke to didn't appear to mind the crackdown.
"I think it's good … keeps people from speeding," one driver said.
"Those who don't follow the rules should pay for it," said another.
For some drivers, the project may seem reminiscent of the days of the controversial photo radar technology.
That technology failed in light of legal challenges and was scrapped in 2001. The province insists that the new project comes with plenty of signage and is legally solid.
"Any time there's a change in terms of traffic enforcement...we know there will be legal challenges," Farnworth said. "We are confident in the work that's been done when the legislation was drafted that it will withstand a legal challenge."
The 35 locations that will ultimately become part of the project were identified as especially high-risk intersections using crash data from the province's 140 intersections equipped with red-light cameras.
The Intersection Safety Camera program reported an average of 10,500 vehicles a year going at least 30 km/h over the posted speed limit.
But while the province is citing road safety as the motivation for automated speed enforcement, those on the other side of the aisle are calling it a cash grab.
"This is a government that is trying to use every opportunity that they can to raise revenue to pay for their special projects and I think it's the wrong way to go," said opposition critic for the solicitor general and public safety Mike Morris.
Farnworth defended the project, however, saying the province won't actually keep any of the money made through fines.
"This isn't about revenue," he said. "This is about traffic safety and as you know right now, the revenue that does come from speed enforcement cameras goes to municipalities."
Farnworth added that if the first 35 cameras result in a significant decrease in speeders, British Columbians could see more of the province's 140 red light cameras upgraded with the same technology.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Penny Daflos