Could drivers trigger new green-light cameras 30 km/h above speed limit? ICBC’s CEO seems to think so

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WATCH: Global News has learned the speed that will trigger the issuing of a ticket from the new "tweaked" green light cameras. Jordan Armstrong reports – May 9, 2019

With 35 high-risk intersections across B.C. getting equipped with new speed-detection cameras, one question remains: how fast do you have to be going to trigger them?

According to leaked audio of ICBC’s CEO obtained by Global News Thursday, “30 above” could be the magic number.

That’s what Nicolas Jimenez began to tell the crowd during a speech to the Insurance Brokers Association of B.C. this week, where he appeared to slip some information the province doesn’t want drivers to know.

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“We’ll be able to capture people going 30 kilometres or over—” Jimenez begins, before a colleague cuts him off and forces him to backtrack.

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“The threshold is not set. We’re not saying it would be 30,” Jimenez continues to laughter from the crowd. “We’re just saying the threshold will come.”

READ MORE: B.C. government won’t be releasing how fast drivers have to go to activate green light cameras

ICBC said Thursday Jimenez was “speculating,” and that the threshold for the cameras has not been set yet by the province.

The B.C. government is activating the speed detection technology in red light cameras at 35 intersections across B.C. that are considered at high risk for crashes.

The province chose the intersections after analyzing data from 140 Intersection Safety Cameras.

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On Wednesday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said provincial data shows that on average, 10,000 vehicles a year go through those monitoring stations at over 30 km/h above the speed limit — appearing to confirm what Jimenez let slip.

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But he stopped short of saying whether that would be the speed that triggers the cameras.

“We have no plans, neither does any other province, of releasing what the speed is for which the camera is activated,” the minister said then.

READ MORE: Lead-foots beware: Speed cameras coming to 35 B.C. intersections this summer

On Thursday, Farnworth wouldn’t confirm or deny Jimenez’s comments, instead reiterating the purpose of the cameras is to target reckless drivers.

“It’s those people who seem to think that they can blow through with impunity and drive like idiots, they’re the ones who will end up getting a ticket,” he said.

Farnworth defined excessive speed as going at least 40 km/h above the speed limit, which is the definition put forward by the Motor Vehicle Act.

He added the purpose of the cameras is to cut down on high-impact crashes that can be caused by excessive speeding, and that “normal people” who follow the speed limit — or go just slightly over — have nothing to worry about.

READ MORE: B.C. says 24/7 red-light cameras are not photo radar, critics say that’s exactly what they are

“If the speed limit is 50 [km/h] and you’re going 59, you won’t get a ticket,” he said. “If you’re going with the normal flow of traffic and it’s little over, you’re going to be just fine.”
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During the speech, Jimenez said “no one’s going to buy” complaints that the new practice is another version of photo radar, which saw police in unmarked vans set up at random locations and issue tickets at low speed thresholds during the 1990s.

“It’s just not true,” he said. “This is about risk, and targeting risk from the worst of the worst, so we’re really excited.”

—With files from Richard Zussman and Jordan Armstrong

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