B.C. cities want to install their own photo radar

NDP government has refused to introduce the practice that aims to reduce speeding drivers

Local governments have voted to ask the province to let them install their own photo radar.

Delegates at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention carried a resolution on Thursday asking the government to change rules to allow cities to install photo radar on local roads at the local government’s expense.

The issue came up at a West Kelowna council meeting in June, where Coun. Rick de Jong said he “would welcome back photo radar.”

It remained a controversial decision for UBCM delegates, passing with only 60 per cent.

Photo radar has been debated as a solution to reduce crashes. A report on ICBC released in July recommended photo radar as one option to reduce speeding, saying the research points to at least a 14-per-cent reduction in collisions.

The province installed cameras at intersections in 1999 as part of the BC Intersection Safety Camera program. However, these cameras are not used for speed enforcement, despite a 2011-2012 analysis of speeds at 140 intersections that found 10 per cent of vehicles were going at least 40 km/hr over the speed limit.

In response to the July report, Attorney General David Eby, who is the NDP government’s ICBC minister and past critic, called photo radar a “non-starter,” as it has been so unpopular with voters, but declined to provide more information.

READ: ICBC rates could go up 30 per cent by 2019: report

Instead, Eby said the government would find a way to make bad drivers pay more. He said a predicted 30-per-cent rise in premiums by 2019 would not happen under the NDP’s watch.

The report had said accident rates went up by 23 per cent between 2013 and 2016, and that vehicle repair costs skyrocketed to a total of $1.5 billion in 2016.

Provincial budget documents revealed this winter that the auto ensurer is expected to run a $833-million deficit by the end of 2017.


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