Snappledagain's Blog

Vent now. Fix later.

Photo Radar, June 11th, 2010. Canmore. Speeding.

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Complaints about photo-radar appear in the letters to newspapers nearly every week since the system first made its appearance. Everything I’ve read, every comment that seems to have been made, has seemed subjective, and while every letter conveys genuine frustration we should have the means to reason during the debate.

In order to identify the ‘need’ for its services Global set out testing equipment to measure the speed of vehicles passing by. The representatives from this company then used this objective data and met with town council and said  ‘See, people speed here’. As if that was a revelation to anyone.  Council was convinced by this company, and perhaps a very small group of individuals (apparently, less than 1% of drivers never speed), and by its own greed for money to enlist the services of Global to conduct photo radar ‘patrols’.

A sufficient period of time has now passed that we should be able to perform the exact same series of vehicle speed measurements, in the same locations, same time of year, same everything that was originally done before the use of photo-radar was implemented as a means for ‘controlling’ driving speeds, and prove that driver behavior has indeed changed.

I would speculate however that the speed of drivers only changes when the (very obvious) photo-radar vehicles are present, and that at all other times drivers conduct themselves as they always have. That premise is formed subjectively on my own observance of drivers as I drive along the streets with everyone else. I believe too that it’s mainly visitors to our community that are being stung these days, local drivers having by now been conditioned  to check their speed when approaching certain locations on our roads. This can’t be a good tool for increasing tourism to our community.

Has the death rate fallen? By how much have injuries been reduced? Has the number of tickets being issued increased or decreased since the introduction of photo radar? Are the before and after speeds at the measurement locations changed? Has that information even been determined? Answering questions such as these, along with the objective measurement data we’ll have all we need to make an informed decision about the effectiveness of this system  Our council denied it was in the business of photo-radar (and make no mistake, this is a business in this town) for the dough, arguing that it was always about safety … so let’s define a metric to prove its effectiveness. If the premise of the argument ‘for’ is safety, then this town council should now be able to prove we are all safer now.

For my part, I don’t believe any lives have been saved, nor injuries reduced, nor has the routine speed of vehicles changed except when near a photo-radar vehicle. It does appear that a couple hundred thousand dollars is being lifted out of our pockets, and sent away in the slipstream of the photo-radar vehicles to another community.

Written by snappledagain

05/27/2013 at 11:52

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