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Photo radar use restrictions coming to Alberta municipalities next year

The Alberta Government announced on Wednesday that changes are coming to municipal use of photo radar for traffic speed enforcement.

The Province is promising changes in April that will ensure that photo radar is only used for enforcement.

Its use will not be allowed on residential streets with speed limits of less than 50 kph, or within speed transition zones. Additionally, photo radar vehicles will have to be clearly visible, and double ticketing within five minutes will not be permitted.

Photo radar will continue to be allowed in playground and school zones.

“These changes respond to public concerns requesting the elimination of ‘fishing holes’ or speed traps while maintaining high levels of safety standards,” said Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Transportation in a prepared statement.

The Province has also said it will be requiring rationale and data for photo radar sites.

Municipalities will have until December 1, 2022 to implement the changes.

Current photo radar sites will remain

The province extended a 2019 freeze on the installation of new permanent photo radar locations to December 2022.

It prevents municipalities from installing new photo radar equipment or locations and performing upgrades on existing equipment.

Currently installed photo radar locations will be allowed to remain in operation.

The Calgary Police Service said in a statement sent to LiveWire Calgary that they’re currently reviewing the details from the Province’s announcement.

“At first review, most of these changes align with current CPS practices,” the statement said.

CPS said that the changes may hinder the rapid deployment of photo radar to locations they believe need traffic enforcement.

“We continue to widely share our photo enforcement locations on a monthly basis and remain committed to the key goal of all traffic enforcement, which is the safety of all road users.”

Ministers call photo radar a “cash cow”

Both Alberta’s Justice Minister Kaycee Madu and Premier Jason Kenney called on photo radar to only be used for safety.

“Photo radar should only be used for traffic safety—not as a cash cow to squeeze extra money from Albertans,” said Madu.

The Premier said on Twitter Tuesday, that “for too long, municipalities have used photo radar as a cash cow to squeeze even more money from hard-working Albertans.”

“Starting next year, they will have to demonstrate that they’re using photo radar to protect Albertans not gouge them,” he said.

Calgary Police Service statistics show the use of photo radar has reduced injury collisions by 25 per cent at 20 locations in Calgary.

They have also said that approximately 10 per cent of vehicles speed through intersections.

According to the 2020 Calgary Police Service financial statements, all fines and penalties, including those for photo radar, amounted to $44.6 million in revenue.