Fredericton City Councillors say they want the province to amend the Motor Vehicle Act in order to install red light cameras, and say other cities are starting to pass resolutions asking the province to take action.
Councillor Stephen Chase said Saint John and Campbellton have already followed the city’s suit and passed resolutions to ask the Gallant government to amend the act. He said Dieppe and Bathurst are also going to be voting on resolutions in the near future.
Chase said having other cities support the changes, along with the recent poll results that indicate Frederictonians are in favour of traffic safety devices, is a step forward.
“I felt really good that the vast majority of citizens in the Fredericton area are concerned with their safety in intersections and that they see the use of technology as contributing to safety,” Chase said.
He said the number of motorists speeding through intersections and running red lights is “startling”.
“It’s a larger issue of people speeding through these intersections when lights are green or yellow. And that’s what this technology would capture as well,” Chase said.
Chase said the city has been working with the Cities of New Brunswick Association to move things forward with the province.
The Cities of New Brunswick Association president and Fredericton City Councillor Eric Megarity said he sees people run red lights often.
The cities involved with the association are Bathurst, Campbellton, Dieppe, Edmundston, Fredericton, Miramichi, Moncton and Saint John. Megarity said having those cities on board is a big step forward.
“We’ve asked the eight cities of New Brunswick to pass a resolution and I think most of them have, or are in the process of, so those resolutions will go to the minister of public safety and that’s in conclusion with a meeting we had with the minister a few months ago and senior staff or public safety asking to take a real good look at intersection safety devices and the ability for cities to use them because we need a change in the Motor Vehicle Act,” Megarity said.
Chase said he would like to see the government treat the upcoming resolutions “very seriously” and that they move as quickly as possible to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to enable the use of use of technology to improve safety.
Chase said it would be a big step forward toward reducing death, injury and property damage.
Megarity said it’s all about being “smart” and using technology wisely because the city can’t station police officers at every intersection.
WATCH: Delta driver blows red light, narrowly misses pedestrians
In an email statement from New Brunswick Justice and Public Safety Director of Communications Elaine Bell, she said while the province is always looking for ways to improve safety for motorists, amendments would have to be made to the Motor Vehicle Act before cities could legally use technology for the purposes of traffic enforcement.
“However, Government has a busy legislative agenda for the upcoming session, the last of its mandate. These amendments are not part of its legislative agenda for the next session,” said Bell.
Chase said the Cities Association will meet again in September to try to fully drive all the pieces together.
“I do know that there are MLAs that support the use of technology. It’s understandable in a sense that we can’t possibly have police at every intersection to reduce the problem and the societal costs far outweigh the costs of adopting the technology,” he said.
Chase said the City of Fredericton has had an excellent partnership with the Office of Traffic Safety in Edmonton.
“They have supported us every step of the way, including loaning us the cameras that helped us quantify the problems at the two major intersections in Fredericton. So it’s been a great partnership with Edmonton, and we look forward to future work with them in order to realize the goal of improving safety in New Brunswick,” Chase said.
Chase said his message to New Brunswick’s minister of public safety, Denis Landry, is that he believes the provinces know they have a serious issue to deal with, and said it’s a matter he needs to take to cabinet and gain their approval.
“But you know, day by day we’re providing information that will help that decision take place and help Minister Landry work his way through this legislative process,” Chase said.
“Hopefully at the end of the day we save lives, we save people from getting hurt and at the end of the day that hopefully it will be less health costs,” Megarity said.