Automated Red Light and Speed Detection Cameras
Each year, 35-40% of collisions happen at intersections in the County. Strathcona County utilizes Intersection Safety Devices (ISDs) at several major intersections. There is strong research evidence that intersection safety devices reduce serious injury collisions at intersections.
Intersection safety devices improve safety by reducing both the number and severity of “T-bone” crashes, the most dangerous kind of collision.
Automated enforcement at intersections is not about generating revenue – it’s about saving lives. The cost of collisions to municipalities, the health care system, the insurance industry and society far outweighs anything that could be collected from the tickets.
- Why is speed so dangerous at intersections?
- How do the cameras work?
- Do the cameras record every vehicle passing through an intersection?
- Does someone review the recordings before motorists are ticketed? What is the fine?
- Will the registered vehicle owner receive any demerit points?
- Will I get a ticket for turning right on a red?
- How often do drivers run red lights?
- What intersections in Sherwood Park are equipped with red light cameras and speed detection devices?
- How do red-light cameras increase safety?
- Are the intersections with red light cameras signed to warn motorists?
- How is the red-light violation documented?
- Isn't regular police enforcement enough?
- Do red light cameras violate privacy?
- Does the camera for speed detection look different than a red light camera?
- Does every intersection have speed detection cameras?
- How accurate is the speed measurement?
- Where does the money from enforcement go?
- What is the annual revenue for Strathcona County from automated enforcement tickets?
- What is the County’s cost of operating photo enforcement?
- Who can I call if I have a question about my ticket?
Why is speed so dangerous at intersections?
Misjudging a left hand turn or failing to stop at a red light can result in a right angle or “T-bone” collision. These are the most dangerous kind of collision. Serious injury or death is likely in T-bone collisions occurring at speeds greater than 50 km/h. Speeding just a few kilometres over the limit can be the difference between life and death.
How do the cameras work?
In a typical system, cameras are positioned at the corners of an intersection, on poles a few metres high. The cameras point inward, so they can record vehicles driving through the intersection.
Do the cameras record every vehicle passing through an intersection?
No, only vehicles committing a red light or speed infraction will be recorded. In the case of a red light, only vehicles that are entering an intersection after the light has turned red and have not come to a full stop prior to entering the intersection are recorded. Drivers who enter on yellow and find themselves in an intersection when the light changes to red are not recorded. In the case of a speed infraction, any vehicle that enters the intersection over the set threshold speed will be captured by the camera. A speed infraction will be recorded on any light phase – red, yellow or green. It is possible to receive two tickets if a vehicle enters an intersection on a red light and above the speed limit for that section of roadway.
Does someone review the recordings before motorists are ticketed? What is the fine?
Yes, trained personnel review every recording to verify the vehicle is in violation of the traffic signal. Tickets are mailed to vehicle owners where it is clear the vehicle ran the red light or was over the set threshold speed. The registered owner of the vehicle in violation of a red light will receive a $388.00 (as of May 1, 2015) ticket. Speed infractions follow the specified penalties as listed in the Alberta Traffic Safety Act for speed offences.
Will I get a ticket for turning right on a red?
Yes, you will be ticketed if you fail to come to a full stop before turning right at a red light at intersections equipped with an intersection safety camera. Based upon the recording, it can be proven that a vehicle has failed to stop prior to making a right hand turn on a red light.
How often do drivers run red lights?
Too often! In 2013, Strathcona County issued 626 red light camera tickets and the speed detection program issued 5,183 tickets for speeding through the intersection.
- Wye Road and Ordze Road westbound
- Wye Road and Sherwood Drive eastbound
- Wye Road and Brentwood Boulevard east and westbound
- Wye Road and Clover Bar Road eastbound
- Baseline Road and Broadmoor Boulevard westbound
- Baseline Road and Sherwood Drive west and southbound
- Baseline Road and Clover Bar Road westbound
- Sherwood Drive and Fir Street southbound
How do red light cameras increase safety?
Intersection safety devices improve safety by reducing both the number and severity of “T-bone” crashes, the most dangerous kind of collision. In 2009, the Cochrane review: “Red-light cameras for the prevention of road traffic crashes”, the authors concluded that despite a lack of quality research, there is enough evidence to conclude that the use of red-light cameras cut the number of crashes in which there were injuries. In the best conducted of these studies, the reduction was nearly 30%.
Since that time, further research has confirmed the effectiveness of intersection safety devices in improving intersection safety and established best practices.
Through the Capital Region Intersection Safety Partnership , Strathcona County is working with other partners in the Capital Region to explore new uses for the data collected through automated enforcement violations (Intersection safety devices and photo radar). In a recent study, automated enforcement data across the Capital Region was brought together and analyzed.
Drivers with more automated enforcement violations had more collisions than other drivers, and those with 12 or more violations were involved in more injury collisions. The study also found a relationship between high automated enforcement violations and those with a criminal history. The overriding conclusion for this study is that automated enforcement data can play an important role in the development of more effective intervention strategies that will make our roadways and communities safer for everyone.
Isn't regular police enforcement enough?
It is difficult for police to enforce red-light infractions because the police must follow offenders through the light to catch them. This can endanger other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, as well as the officers. Communities also can't afford to have police patrol intersections as often as necessary to catch drivers who run red lights. The cameras allow police to focus on other enforcement priorities.
Do red light cameras violate privacy?
No. By obtaining a licence, motorists agree to abide by rules governed by the Traffic Safety Act. Motorists themselves are not observed or documented. Red-light cameras photograph a vehicle's rear license plate only-not its driver or occupants. The process has been reviewed by various Privacy Commissioners to ensure the cameras do not violate driver privacy.
- 2013 total: $694,434
- RCMP and Enforcement Services operations: $97,811
- Victim Assistance Fund: $85,432
- Provincial fine retention: $97,136
- Enforcement processing, County staff costs: $28,740
- Intersection safety devices contract: $385,315
Victim Assistance Fund – Provincially-funded Victim Assistance Programs.
Provincial Fine Retention – Province’s portion held for their costs in processing tickets.
Intersection Safety Devices Contract - The County pays a contract company to supply and service intersection safety device equipment and process the recordings.
R.C.M.P. & Enforcement Services Operations - Photo Enforcement revenue is used to fund the general operations of the R.C.M.P. & Enforcement Services Department therefore reducing the cost for tax payers. In 2013 Photo Enforcement covered 2.68% of the general operating expenses of the R.C.M.P. & Enforcement Services Department (over and above the cost of Photo Enforcement).
What is the annual revenue for Strathcona County from automated enforcement tickets?
In 2013, after paying into the Provincial Victim Assistance Fund ($85,432) and paying the Provincial Fine Retention fees ($97,136), Strathcona County received $511,865 from paid enforcement tickets. This includes fines for speed on green enforcement as well as red light and speed detection cameras.
What is the County’s cost of operating intersection safety devices?
The following figures are from 2013:
Photo enforcement contract $385,315
Photo enforcement processing, County staff costs $28,740
Total 2013 cost to County for intersection safety device enforcement: $414,055