Excessive speeding in Edmonton is putting lives at risk, says police chief Rod Knecht.

In a year-end interview with CBC, Knecht said as of early December, police had caught 550 people driving more than 60 km/h over the speed limit. That compares to 463 caught for the same offence in 2015.

"You're going 60 km/h over the speed limit — you're going 110 km/h in the city — you're putting people's lives in danger, you're putting yourself in danger," Knecht said.

Knecht has called on the province to bring in excessive speed legislation that gives police discretion to seize vehicles and issue suspensions to drivers going more than 50 km/h over the posted limit.

Chief Rod Knecht

'You're putting people's lives in danger, you're putting yourself in danger,' said Chief Rod Knecht (CBC)

Currently driving 50 km/h over the speed limit earns six demerit points and a mandatory date in court and nearly $500 in fines, but only if you're caught red handed, not by photo radar.

That's also something Knecht would like to see change.

He believes face-to-face encounters with police officers is a bigger deterrent to speeders than photo radar.

"When that police officer pulls you over, inconveniences you, I think that has a different impact than you get a letter in the mail that has a picture of the back of your head," he said.

Many people with a steady income will simply pay the photo radar ticket rather than slow down, he said. 

However, Knecht admitted repeated photo radar tickets can eventually change driver behaviour, pointing to his daughter as an example.

"She got tired of getting photo radar tickets to the point she's saying, 'It's costing me too much money. I'm changing my behaviour, I'm going to slow down'," he said.