SMILE FOR THE CAM­ERA

City launch­ing photo radar pro­gram

Toronto Sun - - NEWS - ANTONELLA ARTUSO aar­[email protected]­media.com

Smile speed­ers: It won’t be long be­fore you’ll be cap­tured on cam­era.

The City of Toronto is poised to launch photo radar later this year, and has des­ig­nated more than 700 lo­ca­tions that would be el­i­gi­ble for Au­to­mated Speed En­force­ment (ASE).

Be­cause photo radar will be lo­cated in des­ig­nated Com­mu­nity Safety Zones around schools, nor­mal speed­ing fines will be dou­bled.

The tick­ets will be mailed to the owner of the ve­hi­cle, who may or may not be the driver.

De­merit points and the im­me­di­ate li­cence sus­pen­sions and im­pound­ments man­dated by the High­way Traf­fic Act for driv­ers caught trav­el­ling at high rates of speed would not ap­ply with photo radar, the On­tario Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion (MTO) con­firmed.

Fines could range from $21 for go­ing one km/h over the posted speed limit to $1,105plus for 50 km/h or more.

City spokesman Eric Holmes said coun­cil au­tho­rized the cre­ation of 754 new Com­mu­nity Safety Zones last year around el­e­men­tary schools.

A pi­lot pro­gram cur­rently in place — no fines are is­sued — wraps up later this month.

“At the time of the pi­lot launch in Septem­ber, staff an­tic­i­pated that full pro­gram im­ple­men­ta­tion would be late-2019,” Holmes said in an e-mail.

The city could not pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion yet on how many zones will re­ceive photo radar and whether it would op­er­ate around the clock.

Photo radar was in­tro­duced to the prov­ince’s ma­jor high­ways in the early 1990s by Bob Rae’s NDP gov­ern­ment, but the con­tro­ver­sial project was scrapped by Mike Har­ris’ Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives. One of the com­plaints at the time was — that un­like a po­lice — the pro­gram did not stop speed­ing driv­ers at the time of an of­fence but, in­stead, sent them a bill for it later.

ASE is be­ing im­ple­mented un­der Toronto’s Vi­sion Zero strat­egy to re­duce traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties.

The Doug Ford gov­ern­ment has agreed to al­low the city to bring in photo radar around schools.

MOT pokesman Bob Nichols said the prov­ince ad­dresses speed­ing with a com­bi­na­tion of strin­gent penal­ties, traf­fic en­gi­neer­ing, pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port for law en­force­ment.

“Driv­ers re­ceive in­cre­men­tally more se­vere fines cor­re­spond­ing to how fast they are trav­el­ling above the speed limit,” Nichols said in an e-mail.

“In ad­di­tion to this, fines dou­ble in com­mu­nity safety zones, por­tions of the road­way where pub­lic safety is of spe­cial con­cern which may lie near schools, day­cares, parks, play­grounds, or hos­pi­tals. These fines like­wise dou­ble in des­ig­nated con­struc­tion zones while work­ers are present.”

Street rac­ing penal­ties — for those go­ing 50 km/h or more over the speed limit — in­clude im­me­di­ate seven-day sus­pen­sions and ve­hi­cle im­pound­ments, and if con­victed, fines and a min­i­mum two-year li­cence sus­pen­sions, Nichols said. On­tario has also boosted fines for dis­tracted driv­ing this year to a min­i­mum of $615 for a first of­fence that is not chal­lenged in court.

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