by Morinville News Staff
Photo radar has made a marginal contribution to traffic safety across the province, according to an independent third-party review of photo radar operations in Alberta.
Minister of Transportation Brian Mason announced changes to photo radar operations Thursday he says will enhance transparency, increase oversight and enshrine the principle that photo radar can be used only to improve road safety.
“Our goal is to eliminate photo radar as a tool for revenue generation,” Mason said. “Photo radar operations must contribute to significant traffic safety outcomes, like reducing collisions and saving lives. We are updating the provincial photo radar guidelines to provide the direction and clarity that municipalities and police agencies need in order to focus on safety.”
The independent review shows that photo radar guidelines need to produce better data to demonstrate how photo radar contributes to traffic safety. The guideline changes will:
Improve accountability by clarifying roles and responsibilities for photo radar programs.
Require municipal Traffic Safety Plans to use collision data to ensure photo radar programs are directly tied to safety. The plans will be audited by the provincial government to ensure compliance.
Require police services and/or municipalities to post and update photo radar locations and their rationale on municipal/police websites every month (links will be provided on Alberta.ca/photoradar).
Prohibit the use of photo radar in transition zones (i.e. adjacent to speed limit signs where speed limits change).
Prohibit the use of photo radar on high-speed multi-lane roadways, unless there is a documented traffic safety issue.
Require annual reporting and evaluation of how photo radar programs are achieving traffic safety outcomes.
Conventional traffic enforcement, such as police patrolling or scanning traffic with radar, is still allowed in locations where automated enforcement is prohibited. Radar is also still allowed in school zones, playground zones and construction zones.
The government says it will work with municipalities over the coming year to implement guideline changes, allowing enough time for municipalities to adapt. This work will include photo radar site selection, operational restrictions and data collection the government says will allow for improved and ongoing program evaluation.
Morinville’s Director of Protective Services David Schaeffer says he is looking forward to reviewing the Government’s report.
“Morinville is a member Capital Region Intersection Safety Partnership and it is the Community’s goal to have a safe community,” he said. “Based on what was heard from the TV release, Administration feels Morinville is already doing the things the Transport Minister mentioned.”
Scheaffer went on to say the priority of any program should be about safety. [In] Morinville we have seen a significant increase in traffic law compliance since the inception of this program and thankfully we also have seen very low injury accidents over that period,” Schaeffer said. “Photo enforcement isn’t the only way to improve safety, but it has been an effective tool to help make roadway use safer.”