Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act Prevents Collection of Fines on Out-of-Province Licence Plates


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The Province of Ontario cannot collect on fines imposed on out-of-Province licence plates

More than 1,000 drivers ducked the law last year after burning through Ottawa intersections policed by red light cameras.

A report sent to council Friday by Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson says about 1,500 tickets were not issued in 2011 because the violators were driving non-Ontario vehicles.

The cameras even captured the offences happening.

A legal loophole continues to be a big problem for enforcing traffic infractions at the camera intersections.

The province’s Highway Traffic Act prevents the City of Ottawa from going after fines from motorists who aren’t driving Ontario-plated vehicles.

It’s a particularly frustrating reality for the city since Quebec-plated vehicles are commonplace in the nation’s capital.

Wilkinson, who chairs the city’s transportation committee, points out the legal department has petitioned the province to make amendments and level the playing field for all drivers.

There have been no changes.

“The inability to issue tickets in relation to offences committed by out of province vehicles may serve to undermine the effectiveness of the red light camera program and also results in the loss of fine revenue,” Wilkinson writes.

A red light camera fine is $325.

In 2010, the city counted 2,600 incidents of potential red-light running by non-Ontario vehicles. Those drivers were also not fined.

There are 33 red-light locations in Ottawa and 15 cameras on rotation. The city decides when to rotate cameras based on road construction, damaged camera housings and the number of crashes at the intersections.

Soon, it won’t be worth drivers’ gamble to speed through intersections with camera housings. The city is working to install cameras in each box.

Red light cameras were first introduced in 2000 as a pilot program at two locations: Carling Ave. and Bronson Ave., and Carling Ave. and Richmond Rd. Council in 2004 voted to continue with the program.

The city is now getting a better idea of how well the cameras are working.

According to city data, the intersection contributing to the most fines as of last Dec. 31 was Carling and Bronson with more than 15,000 since 2000. The camera at Carling and Richmond had 851 fines in that time.

There have been about 43,000 fines across all camera locations between 2000 and 2011.

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