Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Red Light Cameras Go Digital in B.C. Now You'll Get Your Ticket Sooner

Better cameras to monitor more high-crash sites

The Province, police and ICBC will deploy state-of-the-art red-light cameras at 140 of B.C.'s most crash- and casualty-prone intersections to save lives and reduce serious injuries, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General John van Dongen announced today.

"Crashes at intersections kill or injure about 53,000 people every year," said van Dongen. "In all, one million drivers have been involved in an intersection crash since 2003 - but red-light cameras have helped to cut the carnage, so we are upgrading our technology and targeting more high-crash intersections to catch, penalize and deter more dangerous drivers."

The most recent study of B.C.'s decade-old camera program, conducted by ICBC in 2006, shows crashes involving death or injury declined 6.4 per cent at sites with red-light cameras. Overall crashes at these intersections fell six per cent. Other jurisdictions with red-light camera programs have seen similar results.

Currently, B.C.'s 30 cameras rotate among 120 intersections. These cameras use film that must be manually unloaded and processed, delaying ticket mailing to the registered owners of photographed vehicles for three to five weeks.

The upgraded program will put digital cameras at 140 sites and enable police to target these sites individually, at times of the day and week when crash data and other analysis show the risk is greatest. Digital photos will be downloaded remotely and mailed much sooner. The first digital cameras are expected to be operational later this summer.

"Curbing aggressive driving at intersections is a policing priority - more than 40 per cent of injury or fatal crashes in B.C. occur at intersections," said Supt. Norm Gaumont of RCMP "E" Division Traffic Services. "The expansion of this program, combined with traditional enforcement, will help police to crack down on red-light runners and stop some of the serious right-angle and T-bone crashes that occur at intersections every day."

The new red-light camera technology is currently being tested at intersections in Burnaby, Port Moody, Surrey and Vancouver. Site selection criteria under development will pinpoint intersections where cameras will most reduce crashes - particularly those that cause severe injuries. Program partners including ICBC, police and the ministry are working together to finalize the 140 intersections for inclusion in the program.

"Running red lights puts everyone at risk," said Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC's road safety director. "There are about 270 intersection crashes every day in B.C., so everyone needs to use extra caution when approaching intersections."

Red-light tickets carry a $167 fine, which is reduced by $25 if paid within 30 days. Upgrading and expanding the program is expected to cost $20 million. B.C. municipalities will continue to receive all net revenue from traffic fines, to help them enhance their policing and community-based public safety programs.

Editor's Comment: I can suggest a few prime intersections in Nanaimo for such a camera, one that comes to mind is the Island Highway and Prince George. Drivers are always running the red at this intersection.



  1. I am very please to see these red light cameras activated. I either ride my bike to work or my car and as I am stopped at the intersection lights of the old island hwy and st. george (at Terminal Park Mall) I see one to two cars running reds every time I am stopped there. This is unacceptable. Even though our society is rushed to the max it doesn't justify anyone to run a red light and put other lives at risk. We all have families that we want to return home to. This is a great way to spend my tax dollars!

  2. This is a great technology to slow some drivers down. Some drivers should see an optometrist because they run the same red lights over and over again without any worry of consequences. These cameras will get people to slow down. One suggestion I have is that a sign that says, "Slow down! You are on Camera" would help slow traffic down.


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