Intersection cameras start snapping speeders
In a bid to reduce collisions, police started sending out tickets on Wednesday to motorists caught on camera speeding through intersections.
Calgary has 40 cameras rotating among 44 high-risk intersections. Of those, about 10 are being used to catch speeders.
About 700 drivers photographed speeding — on average more than 24 kilometres an hour over the speed limit — were given warning notices in March. Now speeding drivers could be fined up to $351.
Charlie Pester, a former police officer who now represents motorists in traffic court, said he wants to see statistics proving that so-called "speed on green" cameras work at reducing collisions.
"None of this stuff they've ever done in my mind has ever convinced me it lowers the number of accidents in this city. They don't ever let anybody see any of the stats that support this," he said.
Rear end accidents might actually increase with drivers speeding down the roads and slamming on their brakes at the intersection, he said.
'We are trying to save lives'
When the change was announced in December, a spokesman for the province said 17 per cent of traffic fatalities are due to speeding and 25 per cent occur at intersections.
"This kind of solves two serious problems at the same time," Paul Oss said. "The reason why this is so important is because we are trying to save lives. The safety of Albertans is what is motivating this initiative."
Driver Sumudu Karunanayake said he is furious with the change.
"You know, we already have the red light cameras and it's just another way for the police department to make more money," he said.
New Calgarian Debbie Gelfillin said she is supportive of the cameras.
"I think that anything that stops speeding is a good thing. The driving here just scares the heck out of me," she said.
Prank has drivers calling police
City staff and police were inundated with phone calls on Wednesday morning from people taken in by an April Fool's joke by a local radio station, which told listeners that the cameras had malfunctioned and anyone driving through would get a ticket.
Police spokesman Kevin Brookwell said police got about 100 calls, some from angry drivers, so they contacted the radio station and went on the air to correct the joke.