Red-light cameras in London catch dozens more infractions even with partial rollout

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More than 200 drivers were nabbed by London’s new red-light cameras to the end of July, even though only four out of 10 of the cameras were in operation.

From mid-June when the first camera went into operation until the end of July, 205 tickets were issued for running a red light, said Shane McGuire, the city’s manager of roadway lighting and traffic controls.

London police Sgt. Amanda Pfeffer said there were only 159 warnings and tickets issued for traffic light infractions across the entire city in July 2016, compared to 205 at just four intersections in July this year.

“You can see efficiency demonstrated at these four locations. This technology enables enforcement at locations that historically have been difficult to enforce using traditional methods” she said.

Pfeffer said red light enforcement at busy intersections can be difficult and dangerous for traffic officers driving cruisers.

“You are trying to navigate through several lanes of traffic and you have to maintain visual contact with the vehicle at all times,” she said.

City council last year approved the cameras at 10 intersections at a cost of $3.8 million, but the rollout has been slower than expected.

The first red-light camera was put into operation at Springbank Drive and Wonderland Road in mid-June.

Three more cameras — at Oxford Street and Wonderland Road, Dundas Street and Clarke Road, and Queens Avenue and Adelaide Street — became operational in July.

Three more cameras went into operation in August — at Commissioners and Wellington Roads, Huron Street and Highbury Avenue, and Windermere Road and Richmond Street — but the number of the August infractions are not yet available.

Three more cameras have yet to become operational, but two will be delayed because of scheduled construction at the intersections.

The standard fine for running a red light is $325. The owner of the vehicle, not the driver, gets the ticket.

McGuire does not have information on how much fine revenue the city has taken in so far, but he said some of the motorists have indicated they would challenge the tickets in Provincial Offences Court.

McGuire said he was confident the tickets will stand up in court.

“The number of people (challenging the ticket) may be higher in the beginning. But people quickly learn the evidence is so clear cut that there really is no point,” he said.

He said the cameras are set up to ticket people who have not yet entered the intersection when the light turns red and then drive through it.

Motorists in the middle of the intersection waiting to turn left are not charged

“The camera are set up to catch the worst of the worst offenders,” he said.

The red-light cameras are operated by a private company called Trafficpax, but the images are sent to the City of Toronto, which has a contract with London and other Ontario cities to issue the tickets. Provincial offences officers working for the City of Toronto examine the camera images and determine whether the owner should be charged.

“There is a human being that reviews every single offence,” said Pfeffer.

Prior to the installation of the red-light cameras London has almost 280 crashes a year related to red-light running.

Studies have show red-light cameras reduce the number of right-angle collisions, which often result in serious injury or death, but may bump up the number of rear-end collisions.

But it may be a while before the city has any data on the efficacy of the red-light cameras. McGuire said city officials will likely wait until they have a year’s worth of data before reporting back to council.

London has joined seven other Ontario municipalities using the cameras, including Toronto, Kitchener, Hamilton and Ottawa

— — —

Red-light cameras now operating

– Springbank Drive at Wonderland Road

– Dundas Street at Clarke Road

– Commissioners Road at Wellington Road

– Windermere Road at Richmond Street

– Queens Avenue at Adelaide Street

– Oxford Street at Wonderland Road

– Huron Street at Highbury ­Avenue

Still to come

– Exeter Road at Wharncliffe Road

– Oxford Street at Adelaide Street

– Queens Avenue at Talbot Street

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