Charlottetown City Council was given some new speeding statistics Monday night, showing the number of speeding tickets increased in 2011 over the year before.
But that paints a very different picture of policing speeders in the city than information released in November, which indicated a drop in speeding tickets issued during the same period.
Two months ago, the city’s police committee released statistics showing 806 fewer Highway Traffic Act tickets were issued in 2011 compared to 2010.
When asked, reporters were told most Highway Traffic Act tickets result from speeding.
The Guardian then published an editorial raising concern over this apparent drop in speeding tickets while, during the same period, the number of collisions in the city was up.
“It’s absolutely not true, and not only is it nonsense to draw that correlation even if it was true, the actual fact is the numbers don’t reflect that at all.”
MacDonald then presented a more detailed breakdown of traffic ticket and accident numbers.
These did show a slight increase in overall reportable accidents – 611 as of the end of November 2011 compared to 606 as of same date in 2010.
But although total tickets issued were down, the number of speeding tickets rose by 10 per cent between November 2010 and 2011.
He pointed to a $145,000 increase in revenue generated from the police department in 2011 as a major indicator of a crackdown on speeders as well as drunk drivers.
MacDonald also pointed out the number of ‘reportable accidents’ did increase in 2011, but those included any accident with $1,000 or more in damages or where there is an injury.
“We all know that it doesn’t take much, especially with today’s vehicles, for an accident to have $1,000 damage and many of those accidents occur in parking lots, it has absolutely no correlation with speeding.”
He said The Guardian’s editorial linking an increase in ‘reportable accidents’ with a false belief that speeding tickets had decreased gave the wrong impression about the level of police enforcement and safety of city streets.
“I think it was the kind of thing that builds into that general feeling out there that there’s a lack of enforcement, and I just thought that tonight was an opportunity to maybe straighten that up a little bit.”
But MacDonald admitted the confusion arose from councillors not having received detailed breakdowns of the information about these tickets and violations.
As a result, he said he plans to give council the specific monthly speeding ticket numbers and avoid the confusion of only providing general Highway Traffic Act violation numbers.
“I have no trouble doing that and I probably will. I’ll ask council if they’d like some more detailed information,” MacDonald said.