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Some red-light cameras issue thousands of tickets; some none at all

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View Winnipeg photo-radar: winners and losers in a larger map.

Red markers on the map indicate cameras that issued the most tickets; green markers indicate cameras that issued the fewest tickets between Oct. 1, 2007 and Sept. 30, 2009. Click on any marker for details on that camera, and see this document for statistics on tickets issued by every camera in Winnipeg.

WINNIPEG - Some people never forget a face, and some Winnipeg drivers never forget a red-light camera.

"I know where they are around where I live," said 21-year-old city driver Trevor Garden. "I drive down Jubilee a lot and I’ve been caught there before. I slow down there. My parents think I drive like a maniac."

The red-light camera on Jubilee Avenue at Cockburn Street is one of 48 photo radar traps in the city. But in the two-year period since Garden got caught, that camera was one of four that issued no tickets at all.

According to an analysis of publicly available photo radar statistics, there’s a wide variation in the number of tickets issued for speeding and running red lights.

Between Oct. 1, 2007 and Sept. 30, 2009, some photo radar traps churned out a dozen tickets a day. Others didn’t issue a single one, likely because no camera was ever rotated into position.

The three cameras that caught the most scofflaws were located at southbound Kenaston Boulevard at Corydon Avenue, westbound Grant Avenue at Wilton Street, and northbound Main Street at Logan Avenue.

Besides Jubilee, westbound Ness Avenue at Whytewold Road was one of the four photo radar locations where no tickets were issued in the last two years.

Winnipeg Police Sgt. Randy Vertone, head of the photo enforcement program, says the location of cameras is based on several factors.

"Part of it depends on where offences occur most often," said Vertone.

That means the two cameras in River Heights and the one on Main will likely remain equipped to issue tickets for the foreseeable future.

Nearly all statistics related photo radar show that far more tickets are issued for speeding than running red lights.

Not so at the busy intersection of Bishop Grandin and River, where in just the first quarter of 2008, there were 682 red light tickets issued compared to 136 speeding tickets. The number of tickets issued at Bishop Grandin at River dropped significantly in the next quarter, between April and June 2008, when road construction near that intersection began.

That points to another factor affecting the location of photo radar cameras. Even though Bishop Grandin and River is classified as one of the busiest intersections in the city, the camera became inactive because of construction.

"An intersection won’t be active if the city is working on a stretch of road where there is photo radar," said Vertone.

Winnipeg police have posted a list of the intersections, with quarterly statistics on red light and speeding offences, on the website www.safestreets.ca.

 

Photo radar reality check

Call it Survivor: Winnipeg. Drivers are constantly trying to "outwit, outplay, outlast" photo radar intersections scattered throughout our city. Some drivers think they are smarter than the system. Here’s a reality check.

Rumour: You get a ticket if you’re 11 km/h over the speed limit. The trigger used to be 12 km/h but the police lowered it to catch more speeders.

Fact: "I can’t release (the trigger speed) for the intersections," says Sgt. Randy Vertone. "But it has never changed since they were installed. That is definitely untrue."

Rumour: You can’t get a ticket unless the camera gets a photo of your rear licence plate.

Fact: True. At least one photo must include the rear of the vehicle. Trevor Garden discovered this when he was issued a ticket after sliding sideways through an intersection in icy conditions last February. "They took a picture of my front licence plate so I got off," he said.

Rumour: You won’t get a ticket if you’re in the intersection while the light turns red.

Fact: True. You won’t get a ticket if your vehicle has completely crossed the stop line, Vertone says. Unless, of course, you’re speeding.

Rumour: You won’t get a ticket if you slide into the intersection during a snow storm.

Fact: Weather does come into play, other factors are considered, Vertone says. "If a vehicle slides into an intersection at 40 km/h, they’re clearly driving according to the conditions," said Vertone.
 

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