Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/7/2009 (4443 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A local group that purports to represent all Manitobans who've been ticketed by photo radar filed a massive statement of claim in Court of Queen's Bench Friday in the hope of getting the traffic cameras yanked and more than $258 million collected in fines returned.
The 25-page claim by the Road Safety Awareness Group (RSAG) also seeks damages of $150 million and a judicial declaration that the photo-radar program is illegal and is contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
How far the claim proceeds in the courts is anyone's guess, as the group does not have a lawyer and allegations made in its statement of claim appear to have little or no substantiation.
The claim is against the provider of photo radar Affiliated Computer Services Inc. and its subsidiaries, the City of Winnipeg, Protection and Community Services Committee chairman Coun. Gord Steeves, the Winnipeg Police Service, the Manitoba government and Jon Butcher, a former city police officer now employed by ACS.
It alleges the process under which photo enforcement was ushered in by the city and province was "corrupt" and that its continued operation violates privacy in that a private company has access to personal information of ticketed drivers.
It's the second claim against photo enforcement before the courts. A class-action suit was launched earlier this year.
The latest case is in response to last spring's controversy over the use of photo radar in construction zones.
RSAG spokesman Gary Lenko also said the group is to appear in court as early as next week to argue for an injunction, pulling photo radar off the road, until the claim can be heard in court.
"Everything is verifiable," Lenko said about the allegations made in the claim. He has received three photo-radar tickets and in the claim says his driver's licence has been wrongfully denied for renewal by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.
Lenko also claimed the rise in violent crime in the North End can be traced to the introduction of photo enforcement in 2002.
With photo enforcement there were fewer traffic officers on the road, which meant a diminished visible police presence in the area.
"The roads interact," Lenko said. "It's a web. The roads are our first line of defence."
Lenko also said photo-radar tickets will be included under Manitoba Public Insurance's new driver rating safety (DSR) program to begin in March 2010.
MPI spokesman Brian Smiley said that's inaccurate.
The DSR program will move away from merits, demerits, discounts and surcharges in establishing licence fees. Instead, good drivers will rewarded with lower premiums, bad drivers will pay more.
Smiley said the Public Utilities Board, the arm's-length regulator, asked MPI to examine the possible future inclusion of red-light camera and photo-radar infractions in establishing DSR levels. Currently, demerits aren't applied in photo-enforcement cases as the cameras don't take pictures of who's driving; the ticket goes to the vehicle's registered owner for payment.
MPI chief executive officer Marilyn McLaren has said MPI will look at the issue, but added that only government can change how photo-enforcement penalties are levied against drivers.