Government puts freeze on new photo radar equipment

A temporary freeze will be put on new photo radar devices by the Alberta Government.

Municipalities and police agencies will not be able to install new or upgraded photo radar devices ,or move current radar equipment to a new location, as of December 1. The government plans to refine rules for photo radar site selection, operational restrictions and data collection.

“Our goal is to ensure photo radar is used for safety, not to generate backdoor tax revenue. Albertans are skeptical about the impact photo radar has on safety and we do not have useful data to analyze so we can make a decision. Alberta has three times as many photo radar units per capita as British Columbia but our roads are not meaningfully safer. A temporary freeze means municipalities and police cannot purchase or install new and costly equipment while we work with them to build better oversight and reporting on the effectiveness of photo radar,” said Ric McIver, minister of transportation.

A photo radar review conducted by an independent, third party in September 2018 discovered that data is limited and inconsistent and said there needs to be better data collection and reporting requirements. The review also found that photo radar operations in Alberta showed just marginal contribution to traffic safety, despite the fact Alberta has the highest number of photo radar devices per capita compared to other provinces.

“Traffic tickets should help increase public safety and not be used to generate revenue. We are conducting this review because Albertans need to have confidence that photo radar is an effective way to keep people safe. I look forward to working with the minister of transportation to understand the value of photo radar and see if it’s worth preserving,” noted Doug Schweitzer, minister of justice and solicitor general.

Alberta’s first photo radar units were installed in 1988 and to date, 27 municipalities have photo radar programs in place.

Want to watch the announcement? Click here.

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