Photo radar should be killed in Alberta

This is call to all my fellow speed demons: your annual speeding ticket count should be decreasing next year!

An independent province-wide review conducted by the Alberta government on photo radar has found the system to be questionable. The review questioned the intentions behind use of the system because they could not find any safety justification for the number of radar locations. The data did not show any correlation between the location of traps and increased traffic safety. Alberta’s transportation Minister Brian Mason interpreted the findings of this report to mean photo radar is being abused and used as a means of revenue.

Edmonton seems to be among the worst for photo radar abuse. In 2017, Calgary made $38 million in photo radar tickets, while Edmonton made $50 million. The city of Edmonton released a list radar spots, and there are currently around 1000 possible locations. Though only about 130 of these locations are active per week, it is still a high number for something with a ridiculously small effect.

The money radar tickets make is amazing, but is radar itself increasing road safety? Not really. In 10 years, photo radar can attribute for a 1.4 per cent decline in collisions. This does not justify the amount of radar in Edmonton. Speed traps hardly make the roads safer; therefore, it seems Edmonton is using them to make money.

In hopes of subduing the cash grabbing nature of photo radar, the province has given municipalities one year to prove that each specific radar location is increasing safety. If they are unable to do that, radar will no longer be permitted in that location. With 1000 locations, Edmonton will likely not be able to justify its copious number of speed traps. It should not be any more than a tax for driving in Edmonton.

As somebody with a heavy foot, photo radar has burned me plenty of times. During my 15-minute commute to school I can usually spot 4 speed traps. If photo radar were actually positively contributing to road safety, I would not have a problem with it. But they are not, and as a broke university student I don’t have endless amount of money to line the city’s pocket with.

A good driver adheres to the flow of the road. Radar does not take this into account. It simply clocks your speed, and then assumes you are driving recklessly. If the city really wanted to do something to the benefit of road safety, they would increase the amount cops monitoring the road. This way they can more accurately discern whether someone is being reckless or not.

Minister Mason said that this cash cow may need to be humanely put down in the future. But for the love of Edmontonians bank accounts, let its death be swift.  

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