Armchair mayor: Photo radar will save lives in Ottawa

By Emile Thérien, Ottawa Citizen, August 10, 2018

The biggest improvement our city could make would be introducing photo radar.

I and many other safety advocates were disappointed in 1995 when the Ontario government rescinded its photo-radar program. Between mid-August and December 1994, before the program was cancelled, one safety research report found that photo radar was having a dramatic impact on speeding in Ontario. The Ministry of Transportation report says the proportion of drivers speeding dropped by as much as 42 per cent, depending on the location. There was also a big change among high-speed drivers. For example, at one research site, there was a 71-per-cent reduction in drivers driving faster than 150 km/h. In the month prior to photo radar, there were 997 vehicles driving more than 150 km/h at the four-lane test site. This dropped to 287 in the last month covered by the report.

So when can we have it in our city? Bill 65 (the Safer School Zones Act, 2017) added powers for municipalities under the Highway Traffic Act related to the implementation of photo radar, but these amendments and associated regulations aren’t yet in effect. In the meantime, this city is involved in a working group on joint procurement and a processing centre for what’s called the “automated speed enforcement initiative.”

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