Drivers reconsider photo radar use

The province is currently reviewing speed limits for long stretches of rural highways, including the Coquihalla

While looking at speed limits on rural highways, the B.C. Liberal government may also have to reconsider photo radar.

One promise former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell can be credited for keeping from his 2001 election campaign is scrapping the photo radar program.

“Speed cameras have no effect on safety. They are nothing more than a cash cow,” Campbell said after leading the B.C. Liberals to a majority win. Soon after, the 30 minivans used in the program were decommissioned.

RCMP were sad to see the vans go. And while ICBC, which funded the cameras, couldn’t say whether they improved safety, they did credit the cameras for a $50 million drop in insurance claims between 1996 and 1999.

The province is currently reviewing speed limits for long stretches of rural highways, including the Coquihalla.

Interestingly, results from a poll conducted by Insights West for Black Press suggests the B.C. government may want to increase enforcement, not speed. And that includes bringing back those photo radar vans.

According to the poll, 55 per cent of respondents said highway speeds should stay the same, while 39 per cent support bringing back photo radar to help curb speeding.

Certainly, it can be argued that problematic drivers are not a majority, and therefore the rest of society shouldn’t be monitored/penalized because of them.

This position, however, is easily reconsidered when one of those problematic drivers is responsible for harming you, a friend or a loved one.

If a proactive, indiscriminate roadside enforcement initiative like B.C.’s former photo radar program can prevent, or at least deter, such incidents, that’s certainly something worth the government’s consideration.

Salmon Arm Observer / Black Press