Monday, October 28, 2013

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair calls for traffic enforcement cameras

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair wants expanded “photo enforcement” placed in the busiest parts of the city to help ease congestion and gridlock.

Blair vocalized his desires to install traffic enforcement cameras at Toronto’s busiest intersections while speaking at a Canadian Club luncheon Monday — an event where the chief addressed the challenges of policing a major city.

Blair said cameras take photos of those committing infractions such as making illegal turns or disobeying red lights.

“In almost every other major city in the world, they do photo enforcement,” he added. “You can put a camera (at an) intersection, and you can put up a sign that (nobody) could miss, that says ‘If you make this (illegal) turn ... if you go through this red light, or if you (jam) up this intersection, you’re going to get a ticket.’”

He said while 87 red-light cameras now capture images of errant motorists at intersections across Toronto, there’s a need for a more comprehensive form of enforcement.

Blair acknowledged some would view the introduction of traffic-enforcement cameras as nothing more than a revenue tool, but argued his force requires a deterrent and a way to free up officers to deal with other demands.

“It strikes me as almost an absurdity that we keep on using the most archaic way of dealing with (this), putting a police officer or two police officers or three police officers at an intersection,” said Blair, who added he has raised the issue with Transportation Minister Glen Murray.

When a red-light camera now catches a motorist disobeying traffic signals at an intersection, the owner of the vehicle is issued a $325 ticket through the mail.

Demerit points are not assigned to anyone caught by the cameras.

If a police officer nabs a red-light runner, the driver is issued a $325 fine, plus three demerit points.
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