Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Winnipeg's drivers love photo enforcement

Over 80 per cent support its continuation: poll

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We love our photo radar despite getting nailed by the speed-catching cameras and all the hullabaloo generated a year ago over speed enforcement in construction zones.

That's the result of a 2009 public opinion poll done on Winnipeg's photo enforcement program that the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) released Wednesday. [Read the full report in PDF format here.]

The poll found almost 80 per cent of Winnipeggers said they believed photo enforcement makes the public more aware about speeding while 81 per cent support its continuation.

Support for photo radar remains high at about 74 per cent even among those who've been caught speeding by the cameras. Seventy-one per cent also said they believed the program improves road safety in Winnipeg.

Last year police and the province came under heavy fire when it was revealed a number of speeding offences would be dismissed because construction zones weren't marked with proper signs signalling the end of the speed-reduced zone.

TIRF's poll is part of an ongoing study into the overall effectiveness of photo enforcement and whether it's made streets safer since its introduction in 2002. TIRF is a national, independent, charitable road safety institute.

Ward Vanlaar, lead researcher and vice-president of research at TIRF, said in a statement the actual percentage of respondents reporting concern about overall road safety was only 54 per cent. That indicates it's considered a mid-level priority to the public, he said.

He said the poll showed people are more concerned about specific road-safety issues, such as drinking and driving (89 per cent) and running red lights (78 per cent). Slightly fewer people reported high levels of concern about speeding (60 per cent).

Vanlaar also said 95 per cent of Winnipeggers interviewed knew about photo radar.

The TIRF study into whether Winnipeg's photo enforcement program reduces crashes and injuries has been delayed for several months because of data collection issues, Winnipeg Police Service Patrol Sgt. Kirk Van Alstyne said Wednesday.

Van Alstyne said data recorded from the cameras and collision data collected by TIRF from other sources had to be put into a single format. The report is not expected to be finished until late 2010.

TIRF also said studies in other provinces, states and countries that have photo radar have found reductions in average speed, speeding violations, red-light-running violations, speeding collisions and right-angle crashes. Other studies say the cameras have caused minor increases in rear-end crashes at intersections with cameras.

There are now 10 mobile photo radar vehicles that clock speeders in school zones and near playgrounds in Winnipeg and 33 intersection cameras that rotate through 50 locations to catch speeders and red-light runners.

Driving force

A total of 750 drivers from Winnipeg were interviewed in May 2009.

Based on a sample of this size, on average, the results can be considered accurate within plus or minus 3.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 27, 2010 B2

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