Ignoring new, prominent warning signs and flying through one of British Columbia’s highest-risk intersections soon will lead to an automated speeding ticket – a road safety approach proven to cut speeds and tragic outcomes elsewhere.
Government has completed its analysis of speed and crash data for the 140 Intersection Safety Camera (ISC) program sites currently equipped with red-light cameras. It has identified 35 with the greatest potential for further safety gains through automated speed enforcement. Beginning this summer, B.C. will install new warning signs and activate technology to ticket the registered owners of vehicles entering these intersections well over the posted limit on a red, yellow or green light.
“We have a record number of crashes happening – more than 900 a day in our province – and about 60% of the crashes on our roads are at intersections,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We’ve taken time to systematically pinpoint the locations linked to crashes and dangerous speeds that are best suited to safely catching, ticketing and changing the behaviours of those who cause carnage on B.C. roads.”
Between 2012 and 2016, ISC sites in B.C. reported an average of 10,500 vehicles a year going at least 30 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, as detected by red-light cameras, which also monitor vehicle speeds. Speed has been one of the top contributing factors in casualty crashes at these intersections, which have had a combined total of more than 11,500 collisions per year.
“The previous government only saw fit to activate each safety camera for up to six hours a day and to target only red-light runners,” said Farnworth. “We moved quickly to fully activate the red-light cameras, and now we’re adding speed enforcement – because it works, and because we want people who travel through these busy intersections to get where they’re going safely.”
Farnworth noted that to discourage high speeds at these 35 locations, neither government nor police will disclose the speed threshold that will trigger the new cameras. This is consistent with every other Canadian jurisdiction using automated speed enforcement. Depending on continued monitoring of the ISC program and evaluation of road safety outcomes, that threshold may change in the future.
“Speed remains a major contributing factor in most serious and fatal collisions,” said chief constable Neil Dubord, chair, B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “We welcome the government’s initiative of using automated enforcement tools at intersections to provide an effective, safe and impartial way of saving lives and reducing serious injuries on our roadways.”
Two backgrounders follow.