TSQ: How would you feel if photo radar was brought back?
February 1, 2013
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Well, it looks like photo radar is back on the…radar, again. On Jan. 8, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair suggested during a media scrum that bringing back photo radar – an unmanned technology designed to...
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Well, it looks like photo radar is back on the…radar, again. On Jan. 8, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair suggested during a media scrum that bringing back photo radar – an unmanned technology designed to catch speeders – might be a way to trim enforcement costs for police.
The unpopular technology came and went in Ontario in the span of about a year in the mid-90s, ultimately getting the boot after Premier Mike Harris took office in 1995. And as PMTC head Bruce Richards mentioned in his most recent column (January Truck News), Quebec has joined a handful of other Canadian jurisdictions giving photo radar another chance. Law 57, passed in June in la belle province, allows photo radar to be set up in targeted locations such as those with a high volume of accidents, school zones and roadwork areas. But what do truckers think of this would-be return of photo radar? Is it just another government cash-grab or a necessary evil to catch speeders? Truck News went to the Husky Truck Stop in Mississauga, Ont. to find out.
• Vernon Mclaughlin, a driver with Interstate of Tacoma, Wash., has driven in several states and provinces (ie., British Columbia) that have used or currently use photo radar, but says he doesn’t like the lack of “grace” with the technology.
“If you’re doing one kilometre over, they’re going to peg you,” he said. “To me it’s just revenue, it’s not safety. And if you do come to recognize (a photo radar camera), you’re going to be slamming on the brakes, things like that.
“I’ve seen places in a school district where I know one driver’s doing 23 kilometres instead of 20 and it nailed him. Normally, a human being doing (enforcement) will probably say, ‘Okay, they’re within tolerance’.”
• Ryan Simonds, a driver for D. Forsyth Limited out of Centreville, N.B., says that when it comes to photo radar, “they’ve got to catch people one way or another,” but worries about the technology’s history of inaccuracy.
“It might get you when it might not be you (speeding). It could be someone ahead of you but you’re going to get the ticket regardless,” he says. “I don’t know if (using photo radar) would be safer; (drivers) are still going to do what they’re going to do.”
• Trent Pickett, a driver for ABI Trucking out of Thunder Bay, Ont., says he thinks photo radar is less necessary these days because he doesn’t see people speeding the same way that he used to.
“It used to be crazy,” said the 20-year trucking veteran. “Now, I don’t find people are driving way too fast, because there’s already lots of cops out there.”
And as for how it might affect truckers, Pickett noted: “We’re governed at 105 anyways. They don’t usually bother us trucks unless you’re speeding through a small town, and you don’t want to be doing that anyways because there’s kids and traffic. I see incidents all the time as a truck driver, but I don’t see speeding being a factor in those, more stupidity.”
• Shaun Markumea, a driver for Kaim Carriers out of Mississauga, Ont., says if photo radar is brought back, the focus should at least be on four-wheelers – not trucks.
“Our trucks are locked at 105. What they need to do is catch these car drivers because they’re the ones that are causing problems. They’re the ones who drive reckless. All of a sudden they’ll cut us off, they’ll come in front of us and hard brake and we’re unable to press the brakes and that’s what causes the accidents.”