Fredericton continues fight for red-light cameras

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside says he's hopeful the provincial government will speed up its review of red-light cameras so he can slow down drivers in the capital city.

Brad Woodside says the province is taking too long to make legislative changes

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside talks about the city's push for red-light cameras 2:08

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside says he’s hopeful the provincial government will speed up its review of red-light cameras so he can slow down drivers in the capital city.

Woodside said the city has been asking the provincial government to overhaul the Motor Vehicle Act for a "matter of years" so Fredericton can install red-light cameras at main intersections.

Red-light cameras are used in other provinces and in the United States.

The cameras automatically photograph the rear licence plate of any car that runs a red light. The car's owner is then sent a ticket.

"What our objective is, is to have a safe city for vehicular traffic and a safe city for pedestrians. This is another tool in the toolbox," Woodside said.

"Unfortunately, we don't have permission to do this sort of thing without the permission from the province of New Brunswick. The province of New Brunswick has been a little slow. I'm sure they're looking at it, working on it, but these things take a little bit too long."

Fredericton wants the authority to install red-light cameras at intersections in the city. (CBC)

Decision within 1 year

Woodside says the province is dragging its feet. The idea was put forward in 2007. The minister of public safety at the time, John Foran, said they would have to look into the matter.

"We'd have to look how that would fit into New Brunswick, have to have some discussion with all of our stakeholders, not just the city of Fredericton," Foran had said.

Woodside said he believes the cameras would slow down drivers.

"I think once motorists know that we are looking at this issue very seriously, I think it will probably take that culture that we have established here of running yellow lights and red lights," the mayor said.

"I think it will slow it down somewhat because then it affects your wallet."

The Department of Public Safety says it's still reviewing the idea as part of a public consultation that was done last fall about a series of potential reforms to the Motor Vehicle Act. It will then create a list of priorities and a multi-year plan on highway safety.

Sheila Legacé, a government spokesperson, said the department's position on red-light cameras is that they have the potential to assist police and they are being considered.

She said the department is aiming to have its priorities for legislative changes released sometime in the next year.

Study suggests improved safety

Meanwhile, a Canadian foundation has found the cameras do make roads safer.

Last year, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation released a study looking at the effectiveness of the red-light cameras in Winnipeg. It found that intersections with the cameras saw a 46-per-cent decrease in the more severe right-angle crashes.

It also found there has been a 24-per-cent decrease in injury crashes at those camera-equipped intersections.

There was, however, a 15-per-cent increase in the number of less severe rear-end crashes soon after the cameras were installed, the study found. But that number did drop off over time.