Snap-happy red light camera questioned
The camera, which is pointed at the intersection of Albert Street and Parliament Avenue in Regina's south end, takes more pictures than any other such device in the city.
Of the four cameras used in Regina, the Parliament Avenue one accounted for 63 per cent of tickets issued in 2009, according to Elizabeth Popowich, a spokeswoman for the Regina Police Service.
The break-down for 2009 is:
- Westbound Saskatchewan Drive at Albert Street: 106 tickets.
- Northbound Saskatchewan Drive at Albert Street: 726 tickets.
- Intersection of Lewvan Drive and Dewdney Avenue: 187 tickets.
- Intersection of Albert Street and Parliament Avenue: 1,748 tickets.
"There's got to be something wrong with that camera," Sean Wilde, 23, told CBC News after he received a ticket for $230 for a red light violation.
The cameras are programmed to take pictures of a vehicle when a driver illegally enters an intersection during a red light. Using the images, authorities mail a ticket to the owner of the car. Legislation was passed making the owner responsible for the ticket, no matter who was at the wheel.
Wilde said he does not have a problem with the camera, if it is indeed capturing images of violations.
"I think the red light cameras are a great system," he said. "I mean it obviously helps prevent people from running red lights."
Popowich, however, told CBC News the camera is working properly. She said the relatively high number of infractions is likely associated with the particular location.
"Different intersections, I guess, will produce different driver behaviours," Popowich explained. "And sometimes people's driving behaviour changes depending on the volume of traffic."
She added that since 1999, when the city first installed red light cameras, the Albert Street and Parliament Avenue location has consistently been the spot with the most infractions.
The numbers, however, are giving pause to at least one lawyer.
"It does raise some flags," Michael Tochor told CBC News. "You have to be careful not to overplay the significance of the numbers, but I think there is certainly an issue there that might be worth investigating, in an appropriate case."
Popowich says police are doing an overall review of the red light camera program, which may shed light on the issue. Part of the review is to determine if the current locations for the cameras need to be changed.
Wilde told CBC News he plans to challenge the ticket he received.