We would like to comment on the recent Letter to the Editor by Mr. Wedick, on March 3rd, 2014 re: photo radar enforcement concerns. The full version of this letter will be posted to the Facebook page “Morinville Traffic Safety and Photo Radar Enforcement”.
1/ Response to complaints – Mr. Wedick implies that neither the Town, nor the Solicitor General’s office have responded to his complaints/concerns with regard to Morinville’s photo enforcement program. He also implied that after more than one conversation with Morinville’s former RCMP Commander, he was not satisfied with the answers he was provided. The TAC, the RCMP, and the Town reviewed all of his concerns and found that they were unsubstantiated. There have been 3 different audits by the Solicitor General’s office and each time Morinville’s photo enforcement program has met or exceeded all of the Province’s requirements.
2/ Photo Enforcement locations – Enforcement locations are determined by the TAC, following the Site Selection Criteria as outline in the Automated Traffic Enforcement Guidelines. Mr. Wedick writes “…ITS only operates where they generate revenue but do not target the other problem areas which have been identified”.
Firstly, we can confirm that in 2013, 625 hours were spent (38% of the total enforcement time) enforcing at nine of the locations where only 16 tickets were issued. And secondly, of course you would want to enforce the speed limit in places where the limit is largely ignored. That is precisely where the problem is the greatest.
3/ Transition Zones – All locations near a change in speed in Morinville have been reviewed more than once by the TAC, the RCMP, the Town, and Solicitor General’s Office.
There have been 3 different audits by the Solicitor General’s office and each time Morinville’s photo enforcement program has met or exceeded all of the Province’s requirements.
School zones have no transition zone (drivers must maintain their speed from one school sign to the next). There are no exceptions. School zones are generally shorter zones and clearly marked from the beginning of the zone to the end of the zone, to protect our children.
Note that the law (Traffic Safety Act) makes no reference to transition zones. Section 109 of the T.S.A., as well as a quote of Matt Barker, Director of Law Enforcement Standards and Audits with the Sol Gen’s office, and one of the authors of the A.T.E. guidelines, St. Albert Gazette article dated June 22, 2011, states, “Speed limits apply until you pass a sign that shows a new limit”.
4/ Tolerance and Discretion – Drivers are expected to treat the posted speed limit as the “limit” and not be concerned with how much faster they can drive without a ticket being issued. If the Town, the TAC and the RCMP decide to allow drivers in Morinville a bit of leniency then they (not the photo enforcement contractor) will decide how much the allowable limit over the posted speed one may be allowed to drive before a ticket is issued.
5/ Current Operators – The Town of Morinville’s current photo enforcement Operators are Town of Morinville Level II Community Peace Officers. Their training program provides a minimum of 100 hours, well above the industry standard, and considerably more in depth than other operators. The training is conducted by a highly respected Traffic Section Police Officer with over 23 years of service.
6/ Morinville’s operators – Morinville’s photo enforcement operators/Community Peace Officers are paid hourly, regardless of the amount of tickets they produce. There is no cost to the Town using the current photo enforcement contractor model, nor does the contractor keep 40% of the ticket revenues as stated in Mr. Wedick’s letter.
In August 2008, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was advertised for photo enforcement contractors, three companies submitted proposals and an in-house evaluation was undertaken. Each proposal, and the in-house evaluation was reviewed and scored on specific criteria. The result, ITS was the successful contractor.
7. Lack of Enforcement in areas identified in Traffic Study? – If referring to the TAC’s Annual Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Review Report, the areas have been, and continue to be reviewed by the TAC, with consideration of photo speed enforcement by contractor, by Town’s Community Peace Officers, and by the RCMP. For everyone’s information, school zones have enjoyed nearly three times more hours of traffic safety monitoring than any other location.
Keith Norris Charmaine Enns