Photo Radar... Speed Deterrent, or Money Machine?

Like most touchy topics, it’s important to ask the right question: Does photo radar save lives?

Does it reduce collisions and increase safety? And, does photo radar provide a steady stream of income for the municipalities who use it?

When Toronto Police Services recently asked for a budget increase, city council said, effectively, “something is gonna have to give,” and within a week Toronto Mayor John Tory was pondering reintroducing photo radar.

In its previous incarnation, it was a total bust, politically. The Ontario New Democrats introduced it to howls of consternation in 1994, and it was promptly snuffed out in the next election cycle by the incoming Conservatives.

That was about politics and the misuse of power (same thing?), and the conversation about any upside to photo radar got stuffed in a bag because this was also around the time that governance with vision seemed to become as illegal as speeding.

Is photo radar effective?
Well, it’s expensive to implement and maintain, but nobody knows if it's effective, (the City of Winnipeg won't release any information about the safety statistics where it gets used).

The one question that is without question... It makes TONS of money – lots and lots of money. In 2014, Winnipeg issued the equivalent of a $22 ticket to every man, woman and child in the entire city.

And, thousands of summer visitors receive the tickets as well. Would you go visit Winnipeg again if they sent you a $425.00 ticket for going 12 in a 10? I’d be scared to even run down the street. Winnipeg loves photo radar. But while the city counts their well-gotten gains, a vocal segment of the citizenry is now questioning where a reasonable idea went off the tracks.

Like an open bar at a stranger’s wedding, it’s simply too easy for municipalities to get drunk with easy money.


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