The City of Toronto is in the red and there is a projected shortfall in the upcoming budget; that being the case, the City is eyeing every opportunity to make a few bucks and city bureaucrats have suggested that motorists running red-lights and being caught on camera, should be vigourously pursued and forced to pay. The City’s auditor general believes that there are millions of dollars to be made.
The city could add $2.5 million to its revenue by boosting the effectiveness of red-light cameras at intersections, while continuing to push down collision rates, according to a report from the auditor general’s office.
Eighty-seven cameras at 114 intersections around the city snap pictures of cars that run red lights, information that is used to mail tickets to offenders. Between 2000, when the first cameras were installed, and 2009, the program drained more in costs than it took in via fines.
But last year, when fines were boosted to $325 from $180, the program generated $800,000 for the city. The report says that by increasing the program’s effectiveness, the city can glean even more money while continuing to increase safety. Collisions that end in injury or death are down 25 per cent at camera sites, compared with 6 per cent at all signalized intersections.
In 2010, 38,000 tickets were issued to motorists who ran red lights, but in 21,000 other instances where an offence took place, a fine couldn’t be issued for a variety of reasons.
The auditor general recommends asking the province to permit bylaw officers to enforce licence-plate visibility standards in the course of their normal duties. Making sure plate numbers are visible could draw $1.7 million more from the program, according to the report.
Promptly repainting stop-line markings at camera intersections could mean pulling in $600,000 more, while enforcing payment from out-of-province offenders could net $200,000, the report says.
Red-light cameras are currently evenly distributed among the city’s 44 wards. The auditor general’s report also recommends that council review whether even distribution is effective.