The City of Toronto’s long fight to get an automated speed enforcement program in place appears to have been worth it: A total of 7,645 tickets have been issued in the just two weeks after traffic cameras started busting bad drivers.
Fifty Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras were activated around the city on July 6 after years of regulatory back-and-forth amid skyrocketing pedestrian fatalities and a marked increase in stunt driving.
Otherwise known as photo radar cameras, the machines are equipped with multiple image capturing devices and a speed detector. They automatically send pictures of all vehicles caught travelling in excess of the posed speed limit to Provincial Offence Officers, who can then issue fines to the registered owners of speeding vehicles.
Still, nearly 8,000 people sreeched right on by the warning signs without a second thought between July 6 and July 20 — until a ticket showed up in the mail, likely.
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) July 31, 2020
The City of Toronto announced on Friday that the highest speed detected during the first two weeks of the new program was 89 km/h on Renforth Drive near Lafferty Street, where the posted speed limit is 40 km/h.
“The ASE camera on Renforth Drive issued the highest fine at $718. It also issued the most tickets at 890, representing 12 per cent of all tickets,” wrote the city in a press release.
“According to the data, which takes approximately 10 days to process and report, the number of repeat offenders during the first two weeks following the start of issuing tickets was 591.”
The most frequent repeat offender received eight tickets over just two weeks for speeding at Trehorne Drive near Duffield Road.
While effective when it comes to catching speeders and, hopefully, eventually altering driver behaviour to increase road safety, the ASE program isn’t exactly flawless.
A few of these cameras, which weigh something like 800 pounds, have also been stolen. There’s a faction of Toronto drivers that really, really doesn’t like the prospect of being punished for speeding near schools
— Oliver Moore (@moore_oliver) July 28, 2020
Just under 300 fines were issued in error during the first two weeks of photo radar ticketing, according to city officials.
“On Thursday, July 23, the City learned that two cameras issued a total of 299 erroneous tickets between Monday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 15 due to errors in programming on the side of the City’s ASE vendor (the erroneous tickets are not part of the total 7,645 tickets issued during the first two weeks of ticketing).”
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“Recipients of the 299 erroneous tickets will receive a notice in the mail advising them that the City will be cancelling these tickets as they were issued in error and that no action will be required on their part.”
There’s also been some highly destructive backlash to the idea of using cameras to monitor and punish members of the public.
Toronto Police reported in June that one of the 800-pound photo radar units had actually been stolen from an intersection in Parkdale. Additional cameras have been spray painted over, set on fire and otherwise vandalized.
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