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Implementing stop sign cameras in Edmonton would be difficult: city
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, September 22, 2012 5:04PM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 22, 2012 6:40PM MDT
Rolling through stop signs are one of the top causes for injury collisions in Edmonton, but implementing technology that’s currently being used in the U.S. may help curb the problem - though the city says the process of getting the cameras installed would be difficult.
Stop sign cameras were placed at some intersections in California a few years ago and in Washington D.C., 16 stop sign cameras will be installed before the end of the year.
It’s an idea that could help make Edmonton’s roads safer – as rolling through or completely ignoring stop signs is the second biggest cause for injury collisions in the city – causing more injuries than drivers who run red lights and second only to collisions from left turns.
“It’s in the top three in terms of collision severity,” said Gerry Shimko with the city’s Office of Traffic Safety.
“It’s in the top five for issues around traffic safety-related violations. We hear from all the regional neighbours as well that people failing to stop at stop signs is a growing problem.”
Last year, about 2,300 tickets were issued for stop sign violations – many of those were handed out due to crashes. So far this year, 1,700 tickets have been issued.
Some councillors CTV News spoke with say they’re not sure if the idea would be a priority for council at this time.
“I know in some of our school zones we get complaints from schools about speeders. I suppose it might be something to look at in those respects or at four-way stops or stop signs where there are a heavy number of collisions, in situations like that it might be worth a look,” said Coun. Dave Loken.
“Everything takes funding and I’m not sure how much of a priority that would be for council at this point.”
Coun. Brian Anderson says there are other approaches the city could take to help make roads safer.
“We have a wide variety of things that we can do through our Office of Traffic Safety, through our Edmonton Police Service, through our transportation department in terms of the actual building of roads and infrastructure that makes our city safer as far as traffic and pedestrian safety is concerned,” Anderson said.
“I think that cameras try to catch people who roll through stop signs goes past the line of the kind of discretion that I think a councillor should have. Would I support that kind of thing? No.”
But Staff Sgt. Barry Maron with the Edmonton Police Service says the cameras would be a good addition to the city.
“Every once in a while we’ll get a complaint from a citizen asking for us to set up automated enforcement at a stop sign,” he said.
“Automated enforcement at stop signs would be valuable at some locations certainly. For the busier intersections, it’s probably a good idea at times.”
Maron says the stop sign cameras would be effective in deterring bad driving behaviour and help make roads safer.
“Automated enforcement plays no favourites, there is no opportunity to talk yourself out of a ticket, it either is a violation or it isn’t,” Maron said.
But says a cost analysis would need to be done, and a combination of automated and member enforcement would be most effective.
The city’s Office of Traffic Safety has no plans to introduce the cameras in right now, and say a lot of work and more research needs to be done to see if they would be effective in the city.
“There are some other jurisdictions that do enforce it using a video-based technology for stop sign enforcement. We would need to look at the research and see where that would go and it’s applicability for the city,” Shimko said.
The cameras also wouldn’t be allowed until provincial legislation changes were made.
“In terms of the provincial legislation, it doesn’t provide for us to use automated enforcement for that particular purpose so it would require a legislation change,” Shimko said.
“The legislation is very, very specific when it comes to automated enforcement,” Maron said.
“It’s really got to be a provincial initiative for that to be added.”
Calls by CTV to the province to discuss the matter of stop sign cameras were not returned.
With files from Julia Parrish