January 9, 2019 4:26 pm
Updated: January 10, 2019 8:15 pm

Alberta’s Freedom Conservative Party calls for end of photo radar

WATCH ABOVE: A sitting MLA is speaking out in favour of ending photo radar in Alberta. The province promised a photo radar review two years ago, but it has yet to be released. Fletcher Kent reports.

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Alberta’s Freedom Conservative Party, led by Derek Fildebrandt, is calling for an end of non-red light photo radar across the province.

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Fildebrandt slammed the Alberta NDP for the use of the program, which he called “a cash-cow scam-of-a-tax on drivers.” He pointed to a report compiled by the FCP that he said highlights the “serious abuse of photo radar in municipalities across Alberta.”

“If photo radar did anything noticeable for safety, the NDP would tell us,” Fildebrandt said in a media release Tuesday. “We have all seen the radar vans hiding behind the Whitemud shed (in Edmonton) with their cameras flashing like a strobe light. These locations are not about safety; they are about money.

“If photo radar didn’t cost the judicial system hundreds of millions dollars and backlog the courts, the NDP would tell us. While the courts are allowing serious violent criminals to walk free, our courts are wasting valuable time and resources on punitive tickets that are little more than an extra tax on drivers.”

READ MORE: Edmonton photo radar revenue down by $3M; drivers speeding less

In May 2017, the NDP said it would review photo radar in Alberta, responding to concerns it had become a cash cow.

In a statement to Global News on Tuesday, the office of the Minister of Transportation said more details on the review will be released later this month.

“Since the beginning of the review, it’s been our goal to make sure that photo radar is used to ensure the safety of Alberta’s roads, not as a revenue tool,” the statement read.

“We’ve been continuing to consider how best to operationalize the results of our study, and will have more to say on the actions we’re taking later this month. We will also be releasing the report alongside these actions.

“Our government will continue to support safe roads, while also ensuring that the rules are administered fairly.”

Municipalities with 5,000 residents or more can run photo radar through their local police or RCMP. Some municipalities in Alberta have abolished the practice.

READ MORE: St. Paul scrapping photo radar program

Most of the money from a photo radar ticket goes to the municipality. The province receives 16.67 per cent of total fines and 15 per cent goes to victims services.

In 2018 in Edmonton, 378,619 photo and laser radar tickets were issued in Edmonton. That’s a decrease from 458,508 in 2017, 522,780 in 2016 and 498,227 in 2015.

READ MORE: Committee looks to put more Edmonton photo radar money into crosswalks

In a statement to Global News, the City of Edmonton said automated enforcement is “proven to reduce speeding and change driver behaviour, thereby reducing collisions and the resulting injuries and fatalities.

“Although speed doesn’t always cause crashes, it always determines the severity of crashes and even a small difference in speed can mean the difference between life and death. The downward trend in the number of speeding violations in Edmonton, and the speed level of those violations, shows that automated enforcement is an effective tool in moving towards zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries,” said the statement from Gary Dyck with the city’s Traffic Safety department.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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