Photo radar cameras will be staying in Saskatchewan.
The provincial government announced Monday morning that it’s making the photo radar program permanent which could mean more cameras going up in areas across the province.
“Our government is committed to making Saskatchewan roads safer, and photo speed enforcement is an important tool in achieving that,” said Minister Responsible for SGI, Joe Hargrave in a news release.
“Excessive speed is one of the leading causes of death and injury on Saskatchewan roads.”
Photo radar was first launched as a two-year pilot program in November 2014, starting with a six month warning period. The program was later extended in 2017 as the government assessed what to do. Now being moved to “permanent” from “pilot” also means more photo radar cameras could be installed on Saskatchewan roads. The province said a committee will be struck to determine if any more are needed, and where they’ll be put.
The province said the program met its target of having less than one per cent of drivers, on average, violating the speed limit at high-speed locations. Though four of the five high-speed locations were already below that threshold when the program began.
According to the government news release, the pilot program showed the number of speeding drivers was down and the number of collisions were down as a result.
The report from SGI shows an extremely small change in number of speeders at four of the five high-speed photo radar zones. Comparing numbers from March 2015 and March 2017, three of the five had a 0.22 per cent decrease or less in the number of people breaking the speed limits. The Ring Road camera saw a 0.05 per cent increase in speeders. The camera on Highway 1 at Moose Jaw showed a 3.52 per cent decrease.
Over the two years there were fluctuations in the number of speeders, some cameras getting down to 0.12 per cent of drivers speeding past, while others got up to as many as 3.61 per cent of drivers speeding.
When it comes to cameras in school zones in Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw – the two-year average percentage of drivers speeding in those zones was higher in all three cities than in the first month of the project.
Comparing March 2015 and March 2017, Moose Jaw zones saw a decrease from 0.64 per cent to 0.61 per cent, Regina saw a decrease from 1.69 per cent to 0.52 per cent, and Saskatoon saw an increase from 1.5 per cent to 2.97 per cent.
According to SGI’s numbers, collisions in school zones were down, comparing the baseline from before photo radar was installed, and the average between Jan 2015 and Mar 2017. There were 42 fewer total collisions and 10 fewer total injuries.
When it comes to collisions in high-speed camera locations, the results were mixed.
There were 32 more non-speed related collisions between Jan 2015 and Mar 2017, but 25 fewer speed-related collisions.
Looking at injuries, there were fewer across the board between Jan 2015 and Mar 2017 – 22 fewer speed related and 18 fewer non-speed related.
The program brought in over $10 million in total, and about $5 million in net revenue for the province.
“Frankly, we’d be happier if there were zero speeding tickets and zero revenue,” Hargrave said in a news release. “People who obey speed limits don’t get speeding tickets.”
As of January, the revenue from the tickets will be split between the General Revenue Fund and the provincial traffic safety fund. Some of the revenue from cameras in municipal locations will also go to the municipalities for traffic safety initiatives.