New Brunswick

Edmonton backs Fredericton in push for red-light cameras

Fredericton is hoping the province will amend its Motor Vehicle Act to allow red-light cameras, which get much of the credit in Edmonton for a big drop in car crashes that cause injuries.

Edmonton has seen a dramatic drop in crashes, says Edmonton official, encouraging Fredericton to add cameras

City of Fredericton continues its push for red-light cameras at busy intersections. (Nick Ut/Associated Press)

Smile for the camera.

City staff in Edmonton are backing Fredericton's push for red-light cameras to prevent speeding and running red lights in the capital city.

Gerry Shimko, executive director of traffic safety with Edmonton, says that city has been using the cameras for years, and they've dramatically improved driver safety. 

"Any time when you have what looks like a potential safety opportunity, then the city should give it consideration in terms of reducing or trying to reduce … speeding and red light running," he said. "Our motto here is that everybody should leave and come home safely."

Red-light cameras are typically set up at intersections and record the licence plate of any vehicle that runs a red light. The owner of the vehicle is then sent a ticket for the offence.

"A vehicle that's already partially in the intersection would not receive a ticket," he said. "You actually have to be before the intersection before it asks you to take your photo as a violator."

Speeding comes with a cost

In Edmonton, if a vehicle does speed through a red light, the fine is $387 but the driver doesn't lose points.

That money is then put into a traffic safety reserve fund to improve traffic safety across the city. The fund is to support police, traffic safety-related projects and traffic safety work in the city. 

"It's reinvested back in safety, which is critical for these programs," he said.

Gerry Shimko, executive director of Traffic Safety with the City of Edmonton, says Fredericton should look into red light cameras. (CBC)
Shimko said the registered owner of the vehicle caught on camera running a red light will receive the ticket in six to 10 days.

Over the past 10 years, he said, Edmonton has seen a reduction of 60 per cent in injury crashes, which Shimko also attributed to the department's work with traffic safety partners.

A dangerous offence

Shimko said about 50 cameras have been set up at traffic lights in Edmonton, which has a population of just under one million. 

"It's one of the most dangerous offences that you can get," he said. "Those crashes tend to be the ones that create the most fatalities or very high prevalence of injuries."

Fredericton Coun. Stephen Chase hopes the province will consider amending its Motor Vehicle Act, so cameras can be installed to catch red-light runners. (CBC)
In the fall of 2015, secret cameras provided by the City of Edmonton were installed in Fredericton at Regent and Brunswick streets and at Westmorland and Queen streets.

Coun. Stephen Chase, head of the transportation committee, has said these intersections are among the most common sites for motor vehicle collisions. He wants the cameras used in Fredericton. 

City needs province approval 

But the City of Fredericton can't go ahead with the installation of red-light cameras unless the province amends its Motor Vehicle Act to allow them, he said.

Since 2015, the provincial government has kept all the revenue from tickets for speeding and running red lights. 

"We are always working to find ways to make New Brunswick's streets, roads and highways safer," Elaine Bell, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, wrote to CBC News.

"Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act would be required to accommodate the legal use of technology such as red light cameras for the purposes of traffic enforcement within municipalities."

With files from Information Morning Fredericton