Hergott: Reintroducing photo radar

The reintroduction of photo radar without talking about photo radar

“Lipstick on a pig”. That analogy for reintroducing photo radar without using the words “photo radar”, makes me smile.

I grew up on a mixed farm in Saskatchewan and pigs were a part of our small operation. They were “free range”, able to root around in pasture areas. Oh my goodness they’re sweet animals! And not just the brand new piglets.

Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder, but I think they’re beautiful as they are. No need for lipstick. But it would be hilarious seeing someone try to apply it!

The analogy was used by Ian Tootill who, according to the SENSE BC website, co-founded a grass roots organization called SENSE (Safety by Education Not Speed Enforcement) in April, 1995. The organization was formed in response to an NDP / ICBC campaign promoting the planned introduction of photo radar in 1996.

According to their website, they fought the campaign “…by spreading the truth about a program that had little to do with safety, and in our opinion everything to do with fleecing motorists.”

They failed to block the NDP’s introduction of photo radar in 1996. But by the next election they had churned up enough public dissatisfaction that the BC Liberal party were able to leverage it into a winning campaign by promising to dismantle the program, which they did in 2001.

The program indeed fleeced motorists. According to a Globe and Mail article published in June, 2001, revenues from the previous year’s tickets, generated from thirty photo radar vans were expected to raise revenues of nearly $12 million.

If we’re worried about fleecing motorists, this go-around is dressing up a pig in a dress, pearls and high heels.

There are 140 red light cameras which have been automatically issuing tickets when drivers blow red lights. They are also equipped to monitor speed.

According to a Vancouver Sun article, an average of 10,500 vehicles per year blow through each of the 140 intersections at 30 or more kms/h above the posted speed limit.

The fine for going 30 kms/h over the posted limit is $196.00. The plan is to configure cameras at 35 of the intersections with the highest collision rates to automatically issue speeding tickets. If driving behaviours don’t change, that’s an average of $72 million per year of additional speeding ticket revenue.

Cha-Ching!

Is the government motivation a road safety one, to reduce speeds at these high risk intersections? Or is it to fleece motorists?

Unlike the previous photo radar piggy, with sneakily placed unmarked vans, this dressed up one will come with warnings. They will be putting up warning signs so speeders can temporarily become safe, law abiding citizens until passing through these intersections.

They will make money on only the most absent minded of lead footed drivers, i.e. those whose driving inattentiveness extends beyond failing to pay attention to their speed, to also failing to notice the warning signs.

And if those are the drivers who will be filling government coffers, I don’t really care about the government motivation. Perhaps a few tickets in the mail will increase their pathetic level of attentiveness.

In fact, I say they should convert the cameras at all 140 intersections.

Next week I’ll explain why they should also do away with the warning signs.

Missed last week’s column?

Hergott: Do you stop for ducks crossing the road?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Start to finish: Okanagan Sun conclude regular season this weekend

The Sun visit the Westshore Rebels in the final game of the season on Sunday

RDCO to host Repair Café to help Kelowna residents fix household items

‘If you can carry it in under your arm, they’ll do their best to tackle the problem, with your help’

Kelowna Sally Ann extends helping hand to thief who stole shed

‘If you find yourself in a place of need, come talk to us, we are here to help’

ALC prohibits land exemption status for three Westbank school sites

The decision means a new secondary school won’t be built along Webber Road

West Kelowna gets more firefighting power

10 new recruits have officially been placed on the city’s roster

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

VIDEO: Meet your Kelowna-Lake Country candidates

All seven Kelowna-Lake Country candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

VIDEO: Meet your Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

One year later: Vernon pot stores look back at legalization

Edibles made legal on first anniversary of recreational cannabis

Memorial remembers North Okanagan’s most marginalized

Prayers and flowers for those who have died on the streets

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read