Moncton lobbies province to allow red light cameras

The city of Moncton is sending a letter to the province asking it to make changes to the Motor Vehicle Act that would allow the use of red light cameras.

City wants to cut down on distracted, speeding drivers

Stephane Thibodeau, transportation and parking coordinator for the city of Moncton, gives a presentation on red light cameras. (Kate Letterick/CBC News)

The City of Moncton has joined other New Brunswick communities in calling on the province to allow the use of red light cameras.

Councillors have approved a recommendation to write to the provincial government asking for changes to the Motor Vehicle Act.

Red light cameras are not currently allowed in New Brunswick.

"Changing the Motor Vehicle Act … means that anything that happens with that vehicle we can serve the person by mail that owns the vehicle," said Stephane Thibodeau, transportation and parking co-ordinator for the City of Moncton. 

"They're responsible for their vehicle and it will be up to them to make sure that whoever was borrowing the car that they were responsible doing so."

(Shawn Crossman (Twitter))

Meant to reduce speed, collisions

Red light cameras are typically set up at intersections to record the licence plates of vehicles that run red lights.

The owners of the vehicles are then sent tickets in the mail.

Thibodeau said the presence of red light cameras could reduce the speed at which drivers travel as well as the number of collisions at intersections.

"Moncton alone will see between 1,000 and 1,500 collisions a year," he said.

"I would say probably 90 per cent of them are at traffic signalized intersections and that means that there is something happening." 

Province focused on impaired driving

Coun. Shawn Crossman, president of the Cities of New Brunswick Association, says the association started discussing the issue close to a year ago.

"We're eight cities strong, we've all got one voice, and we all want public safety as the first voice," he said.

Crossman says the cost of distracted driving is too high and police can't be everywhere.

"There's 80 intersections in Moncton," he said.

"They can't be sitting there at all 80 intersections when an accident happens. It's just not feasible, it's not doable."

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Public Safety said via email that the department routinely monitors the practices of Canadian jurisdictions.

"The focus of the department at this point is to change the Motor Vehicle Act to include amendments re: impaired driving under influence," wrote Geneviève Mallet-Chiasson.

"This is a very important file for the department and government, and we expect the new changes will be in force on Nov. 1."

Ready to act

Thibodeau said the cost of installing red light cameras varies, but Moncton would likely have a private company run the system.

"They basically take care of the capital aspect of things and all they do is want a percentage of the revenues that are coming back," he said. "There's really, a lot of times, no cost to the municipality at all.

Thibodeau said he'll likely send a letter to the province next week.