Province approves cameras to catch speeders at intersections

Alberta's provincial cabinet has approved the use of cameras at intersections to catch speeders.

Alberta's provincial cabinet has approved the use of cameras at intersections to catch speeders.

A software upgrade on Jan. 1 will turn cameras currently snapping shots of drivers racing through red lights at intersections into what the province is calling "intersection safety devices," which will also be able to catch speeders.

There will be a three-month grace period, with only warnings issued until April 1.

The cameras will snap shots of speeders, whether they are going through green, red or yellow lights, said Paul Oss, a spokesman from the province. Anyone who speeds through a red light could get two tickets for the same action — one for speeding and one for running the red.

"It's possible they could get two infractions, but that will be up to the individual police force to determine that," he said.

Oss 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," 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."

Oss said he is unsure which towns and cities in Alberta will be affected.

"Many of the municipalities already have the technology and there might be a slight upgrade that they would have to make because most of the red light cameras are capable of recording speed at this time."

$287 fine for running red light

The fine for running a red light is $287. The fine for speeding varies from as little as $57 to whatever a judge deems appropriate for speeders going 50 km/h or more over the limit, according to the Alberta Motor Association.

Edmonton currently has 24 red light cameras, and Calgary has 36 installed at major intersections.

"The Calgary Police Service is very pleased that this legislation has been passed," said Calgary police Sgt. Clive Marsh. 

"[The cameras] will be able to capture your speed at all phases of the signal. In the event that you are captured going through a red light, and your speed is excessive, or considered excessive, you may be looking at other charges."

Ald. Ric McIver said he is worried the idea of getting two tickets may actually make intersections with the cameras more dangerous.

"When they realize the camera is there, sometimes they'll slam on the brakes at the green light. People behind them won't expect it. I think it will cause some accidents."

The Traffic Safety Act was amended by an order in council on Wednesday.