Edmontonians Have 12.3 Million Reasons to Smile

Update:

see source, CBC

Picture by CBC - 102,700 Intersection Safety Camera speeding tickets, issued between Nov. 2009 - Jan. 14/11 will be refunded to motorists who paid their tickets within 3-4 months at a cost of 12.3 million dollars

This story was first revealed on January 14, 2011 by CBC news.

Edmontonians have received news today that will provide them with 12.3 million reasons to celebrate within a couple of months.

Edmonton’s “Red Light Camera” program began in September 1999 with six cameras rotating through 12 locations. On January 1, 2009, provincial legislation was passed allowing police agencies in the Province of Alberta to use Intersection Safety Cameras (formally known as Red Light Cameras) to enforce both red light and speed infractions. In Edmonton, the Intersection Safety Cameras will capture red light violations and speed violations on any color of light phase.

In November, 2009 the City of Edmonton installed a number of “Speed on Green” intersection safety cameras in 26 intersections (see locations below) in the city. These intersection safety cameras were installed in addition to the red-light cameras.

In July, 2010 problems began to emerge, after a ticket with a ridiculously high speed was sent to an owner of a vehicle, who is turn brought it to the attention of the Chief Crown Prosecutor, Steve Bilodeau’s office.  The City noticed that the machinery (intersection safety cameras) was recording motorists at speeds which couldn’t reasonably be reached in busy intersections. The ticket suggested that he was travelling at 143 km/h (a speeding ticket of 50 km/h over the posted limit, demands a mandatory court appearance) on Yellowhead Trail.

There were 245,000 “Speed on Green” speeding tickets issued in 2010 and 26 of those speeding tickets could not be verified. These tickets are reviewed five (5) times before being sent out and these 26 tickets were screened out.

The City of Edmonton’s General Manager of Transportation, Bob Boutilier was convinced that the cameras could not be reliable based on the speeds recorded of some motor vehicles.

Police were notified on January 12, 2011 and Deputy Chief Daryl da Costa contacted the city. The City made the decision to cancel some “Speed on Green” tickets and suspend the intersection safety camera program until the machinery is fixed.

Once the problems are resolved, all cameras will be re-certified and the speed enforcement function will be re-activated.

Problems with the “Speed on Green” intersection safety cameras were noticed at one of the Yellowhead Trail intersections (there are three (3) different locations on Yellowhead Trail):

Concerned about the reliability of the machinery used to capture motorists speeding on green lights in intersections, Steve Bilodeau, the Chief Prosecutor for Edmonton, has decided to withdraw all Speed on Green speeding tickets before the courts and to refund all those 102,700 tickets (which were issued between November, 2009 to January 14, 2011 inclusive) which motorists have already paid, which will amount to approximately 12.3 million dollars. The refund will take three (3) to four (4) months to complete.

On Monday, January 24, 2011 the Chief Crown Prosecutor for Edmonton (who represents the Province of Alberta) Steve Bilodeau, obtained a Court Order from a Court of Queen’s Bench judge to quash all convictions related to “Speed on Green” speeding tickets (only the intersection safety cameras in Edmonton) stemming back to the beginning in November, 2009. Mr. Bioldeau suggests that about 140,000 tickets will be overturned in total.

In an effort to restore public confidence, Mr. Bilodeau stated “If people plead guilty or have been found guilty or pleaded guilty because they didn’t think they could beat the machinery and it turns out there is an issue with the machinery – it is our obligation to undue that”

Tickets issued due to red-light cameras and photo radar are still valid and must be paid or dealt with in court.

Photo Radar

Since its inception in 1993, Photo Radar has proved to be an extremely accurate and effective means of traffic enforcement. Violators are photographed as they pass by a Photo Radar location enabling police to produce valid evidence in court. Radar detectors are comparatively ineffective against Photo Radar because of the way in which the radar signal is directed across the road.

To date, Photo Radar has been challenged on technical and constitutional arguments, even up to the Court of Appeal in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. However, the issue of photo radar has withstood all appeals and petitions.

Currently the Edmonton Police Service contracts Photo Radar Operators, who are appointed Peace Officers, from the Corps of Commissionaires, to conduct photo radar enforcement at various locations throughout the city.

The Registered Owner of a vehicle involved in a speed infraction is charged under Section 160(1) of the Traffic Safety Act which states, “If a vehicle is involved in an offence referred to in Section 157 or a bylaw, the owner of that vehicle is guilty of an offence.” Because you are charged as the registered owner of the vehicle, and you have not been charged as a driver, a guilty plea will not result in any demerit points being assessed to your operator’s license.

“Speed on Green” Camera Locations

Intersection Safety Cameras are located in various areas throughout the City of Edmonton.

See the Province of Alberta’s Automated Traffic Enforcement Technology Guidelines – Province of Alberta (revised in January 2009)

See video related to the decision to refund speed on green tickets (Nov. 2009 to January 14, 2011).

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