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Old 01-20-2004, 17:36   #1 (permalink)
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Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

I'm in Toronto, Canada at the moment, and heard about this on the radio (they are considering reintroducing photo radar)... This article is a good read (and I like the viewpoint The Star Newspaper take).

Article Is Here

Or here is a slightly summarized version

Skip photo radar! Use in-car fine dispenser
McGuinty idea to resurrect roadside toll gate bound to lose votes

On a snowy Wednesday this week, Premier Dalton McGuinty sent a shudder through the province's drivers that had nothing to do with the weather.

Out of nowhere, the premier mused about the return of photo radar.

"I've long been a supporter of photo radar," McGuinty told reporters.

Wish we'd known that on election day.

...

"It's a great revenue generator," McGuinty said.

No mention of public safety here. No lamentation about lives lost on the province's highways or his government's commitment to crack down on reckless driving.

Only the soft whisper of palms rubbing together in anticipation of a speeding fine windfall.

That's because it's universally acknowledged that photo radar does not make motorists slow down. It only makes them pay up.

...

First of all, let's get this straight: Photo radar is not a penalty against bad drivers. It is a tax on all drivers.

All of us have exceeded the posted limit. Most of us do it every day.

Most of us do it safely, under optimum road and weather conditions and run no more danger of causing an accident at 120 km/h than we do at 100 km/h.

Some of us do drive too fast in the wrong situations. That's why police put up speed traps.

For the most part, police have our safety in mind rather than our revenue generating potential.

...

When cops catch a speeder, they use discretion — a stern warning or a cautionary word may replace a steep fine in certain situations. At least you have 10 seconds to plead your case.

Photo radar does not bring that key element — discretion — into the equation. It targets us all and dissuades none of us.

And photo radar does not make us safe.

Many of us will remember the system's brief, unhappy tenure in the mid '90s. All of us had our eyes on the horizon rather than the car in front of us, scanning for one of the parked minivans that held the cursed camera.

Every sight of a stationary vehicle pulled over on the side of the highway caused a tidal wave of wild braking.

The risk of accordion pileups was a constant danger — a calamitous one in rough weather.

Suddenly, everyone was looking to buy a radar detector in the hopes of cheating the camera's merciless eye.

It was a bad time on the roads. Voters made that clear by throwing their support behind Mike Harris and his promise to scrap the plan.

Good ideas survive successive governments. Foolish, unpopular ones don't.

That's not to say photo radar can't work, with a few caveats.

One, the speed limits on 400-series highways must be raised to 120 km/h at a minimum. Modern cars are designed to cruise at this speed.

Every responsible driver I know regularly coasts at this speed. Regulators need to get in tune with drivers on this score.

Two, photo radar should have a publicly stated threshold of tolerance. Let's say 135 km/h for the sake of argument.

Anybody caught going over that speed will be mailed a fine. Anybody travelling under 135 may still be stopped by uniformed police, but won't be photographed.

This should prevent accordion braking in all but the fast lane.

All of us can agree that 135 km/h is too fast. Few drivers buy the idea that 105 km/h is a problem.

Of course, both of these steps seriously reduce photo radar's "revenue generation" prospects, so they're not going to happen.

But if you still think photo radar — without discretion, without thresholds and without changes to the current speed limits — is a good idea, let's take it to its reductio ad absurdum.

For revenue proponents, simply install speed-tracking devices in every new car.

Every time a driver tops out over a 100 km/h, a dash-mounted printer can spit out a ticket. Saves on postage.

Or for the safety advocates, how about installing speed limiters in all new cars that prevent them from exceeding 100 km/h?

End of speeding. Period.

...
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Old 01-20-2004, 19:19   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

It sounds good, certainly there is no substitute for an actual human being with discretion, however...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghentboy
Two, photo radar should have a publicly stated threshold of tolerance. Let's say 135 km/h for the sake of argument.
If you do this the de facto speed limit becomes 135. This is what the Wipe off 5 campaign and the reduced speeding tolerance were designed to eliminate here in Victoria after it became well known that if you were under say 68 in a 60 zone you wouldn't get booked. However a human being is able to assess whether you were doing the speed continuously or momentarily whereas a camera cannot.
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Old 01-20-2004, 19:35   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

It talks about a speed limiter on new cars - this has come up before. A lot of people ask 'why do we make cars that can go so fast?' - my answer to that is simply because we can, and because not everyone who owns a GT (for arguments sake) drives like an idiot.

Fact is, no matter what they do, people will still crash/die on the roads - its just going to happen no matter what. You cant stop stupid people from being stupid behind the wheel - even if they were limited to 5km's an hr, they'd still find a way to crash. Not saying that people go out of their way to crash, but what I mean is there's just waaaaaay too many variables and possibilities when it comes to driving, the multitudes of different types of drivers and different cars etc.

I'm surprised we don't all have to sign a disclaimer every time we get behind the wheel by now.
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Old 01-20-2004, 22:45   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

How many new cars do you think would be sold if they were fitted with speed limiters? Same goes with any form of tracking/big brother as well, it's an invasion of personal privacy and freedom.
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Old 01-20-2004, 22:59   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

Damn...... I was having such a good day until someone mentioned that ****wits name!
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Old 01-21-2004, 12:01   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

Quote:
Originally Posted by outback_ute
It sounds good, certainly there is no substitute for an actual human being with discretion, however...

If you do this the de facto speed limit becomes 135. This is what the Wipe off 5 campaign and the reduced speeding tolerance were designed to eliminate here in Victoria after it became well known that if you were under say 68 in a 60 zone you wouldn't get booked. However a human being is able to assess whether you were doing the speed continuously or momentarily whereas a camera cannot.
The article only suggested that photo radar be set at 135. It suggests that actual police can still pull you in the 120-135 bracket, and then use discretion (ticket / warning / slap in the head ).

It's not a totally bad idea. It does give some flexibility in the system, and the guarantee that at 135+ you are going to get caught . . .
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Old 01-21-2004, 12:42   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

Quote:
Originally Posted by outback_ute
How many new cars do you think would be sold if they were fitted with speed limiters? Same goes with any form of tracking/big brother as well, it's an invasion of personal privacy and freedom.
If limiters are fitted to overcome excessive power, it would be far more appropriate to fit limiters to state premiers than to locally produced sedans!
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Old 01-21-2004, 15:42   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

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Originally Posted by RED_EL_XR8
If limiters are fitted to overcome excessive power, it would be far more appropriate to fit limiters to state premiers than to locally produced sedans!
MATE THAT COMMENT DESERVES A MEDAL!
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Old 01-22-2004, 05:20   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

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Originally Posted by chevypower
MATE THAT COMMENT DESERVES A MEDAL!
And Carr and Bracks deserve the public condemnation for their attemps to rape the motoring public.

They kicked out mad man Jeff because they said he was taking too much and look what they got to replace him.

At least the Feds have announced today they will re-allocate a tiny proportion back into roads.
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Old 01-24-2004, 17:45   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Take Note Steve Bracks: A Canadian Viewpoint of Photo Radar (speed cameras)

All you Victorians: when did you last see traffic police on your local road? And when/if you do, what effect do they have: bl**dy sight more than a p*xy camera car ticking up the revenue, which won't arrive in the post for another two weeks!!!
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