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York Region wants province to reinstate photo radar
March 9, 2015
By David Shum

Photo radar was unpopular in the 1990s and subsequently shelved in quick order but York Region wants to bring it back.

York council have voted to urge Queen’s Park to look at reinstating the controversial speed-enforcement system despite police statistics indicating speeding offences have gone down from 63,773 in 2011 to 39,059 in 2014.

But Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen told Global News Monday that the region can still do more to prevent accidents.

“This is about safety, this is about making sure that we do everything we can and at this point if we haven’t explored the use of technology than we haven’t done everything we can,” he said. “So I think even though there is improvements, are the improvements enough? Not necessarily. Not until there are no accidents on the road.”

Critics have long complained photo radar is a cash grab while advocates say it promotes road safety.

The system works by snapping photographs of licence plates with the speeding ticket sent in the mail.

Van Bynen couldn’t say how much implementing photo radar devices in the region might cost, saying it still needed to be studied. But he said any revenue generated could be used to fund speeding prevention campaigns.

“You could have road signs, you could have ads, creating awareness, there are opportunities around distracted drivers,” he said.

However, many argue it unfairly penalizes vehicle owners and not the drivers who may have been borrowing the vehicle at the time of the infraction.

Former Ontario NDP Premier Bob Rae instituted photo radar in 1994 but it was scrapped 11 months later by Progressive Conservative Mike Harris when he was elected into office.

Successive provincial governments have since kept the system off the roads despite a push by several municipalities to bring it back.