Red light cameras accounted for just 15 per cent of the traffic tickets Lethbridge drivers got last year, but that number may grow as the city readies three new red light locations.
A new camera is set to catch drivers who speed on green or who don't stop for red lights at the intersections of Mayor Magrath Drive and 10 Avenue South, Mayor Magrath Drive and 32 Avenue South and Highway 3 and 43 Street. The new "intersection safety device," from a Montreal-based company called Information Engineering Group, will rotate among the intersections, which were chosen based on municipal and police data on collision statistics and traffic volumes. An existing camera already monitors the intersections of Mayor Magrath Drive and 5 Avenue South, 13 Street and 3 Avenue South and University Drive and Garry Drive West.
For the month following the camera's installation at the new locations, drivers who speed or run a red light will have a grace period, said Staff Sgt. Zealand Leavitt.
"We will send a ticket out, but it's not one that's payable, it's just one to advise you that you went through this intersection either speeding or committed an offence with a red light and that's your warning," he said.
The fine for running a red light in Alberta is $287. If you're caught speeding on camera, expect to pay between $57 and $351 depending on how fast you were going - 50 kilometres or more over the posted speed limit means a mandatory court date. No demerit points are handed out for photo tickets, which are mailed to the registered owner of the car. The revenue collected from those automated camera tickets goes into city coffers after the province takes a cut.
The Lethbridge regional police service estimates red light cameras have reduced collisions by 30 per cent since they were installed at the existing locations about three years ago.
In 2012, the cameras caught 158 drivers who ran red lights and 8,966 drivers who were speeding on green. Combined, that's still not nearly as many as the 19,058 conventional traffic tickets that police officers handed out themselves.
But most ticketed drivers last year received their fines courtesy of Lethbridge's mobile photo radar system, which monitors and takes pictures of speeding drivers at various locations throughout the city at any given time. Photo radar tickets made up more than half of the total number of traffic tickets issued in Lethbridge last year. Out of a total of 62,192 tickets given out in 2012, 34,010 of them were photo radar tickets, according to statistics from the Lethbridge Regional Police Service.
*Story updated at 12:25 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 to include full-year 2012 statistics.