Intersection cameras are now operational 24 hours a day at 140 high-crash intersections around B.C., issuing tickets for running red lights.
The upgrade began last fall, as the B.C. government struggles with accident and injury claims that have pushed ICBC rates up in recent years. The cameras had been activated for six hours a day during high traffic times. They now run continuously, recording speeding and red light violations.
“Last year we saw a record 350,000 crashes in B.C., with about 60 per cent of them happening at intersections,” said B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. “The full activation of these cameras is overdue and an important step for safety on some of our busiest roadways.”
The ministry reports that more tickets are being issued since the operation of the cameras has been extended, but statistics won’t be available until an annual report is compiled this fall.
Farnworth emphasized that the change is not a return to photo radar, a system of cameras in unmarked vans that was ended in 2001.
Intersection cameras are now being used to gauge speeders, but the threshold for issuing speeding tickets has not yet been determined.
“The analysis of speed and crash data is still underway to inform the decisions around that aspect of the project,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Enforcement will focus on the fastest vehicles at these locations, whether they are passing through on a green, yellow or red light. What we do know is thousands of vehicles are going through at more than 30 km/h over the speed limit throughout the year.”
There are about 140 automatic red light cameras in B.C., located mostly in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island. There are a few cameras in the Okanagan and one in Prince George, operated by ICBC at identified high-crash intersections.
All of the cameras were activated for 24-hour operation by the end of July.