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Private company pitches photo radar to Durham police

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

An Alberta-based company is looking to make sure drivers in Durham are keeping the speedometer below the limit.

David Steer, the CEO of Global Traffic Group, the company behind photo radar services in 20 towns throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan, brought his sales pitch to the Durham Regional Police Services Board who had many questions about the technology.

Photo radar technology works by using a camera to track the speed of a vehicle, and once clocked over the speed limit, a ticket is issued electronically and mailed to the driver.

In Alberta, the technology has been used in school and playground zones with great effect.

“The success in school zones is dramatic,” Steer says, noting that the speeding is generally eliminated in six months time as most people driving in the school zones are local residents who drive through the area regularly and easily change their behaviours as opposed to people who are just passing through.

In Ontario, the legislation to allow for such Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) technology, in school and community safety zones passed in May of this year.

The potential for such technology in Durham was met with concerns from the police board as to jobs as well as the money behind such an operation.

“This is used as a tool to support traditional enforcement,” Steer said, addressing concerns with layoffs.

As for the dollars behind any such operation, Steer says his company provides the technology free of charge to the municipalities, while taking a cut of the revenue received from the tickets.

Regional chair Roger Anderson pressed for further clarification on just how much revenue is taken by Steer’s company, but a definitive answer was not provided. Steer said that each province is different in terms of surcharges and that each rate is negotiated with the municipality.

“It’s really a traffic safety program, not a money program,” Steer said.

The same was said by Bill McLean, board member and Pickering councillor.

“We as a municipality are not in it to make money,” he said, adding that he would need a “sober second thought” before making a decision, and that he would prefer to see it used in a municipality first before thinking about applying such cameras on regional roads.

The item was left to allow individual Durham municipalities to decide whether to move forward with such a project.