April 12th, 2024

Photo radar discussed by Lethbridge Police Commission


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 3, 2023.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Motorists drive by a photo radar vehicle Thursday afternoon parked along South Parkside Drive South.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

During their monthly meeting last week, the Lethbridge Police Commission discussed the benefits of having photo radar locations across the city and the need for more as the population continues to grow.

Commission Chair Dawna Coslovi said that during the recent Community Conversation at the Enmax Centre, multiple members of the community approached the commission’s booth to inquire about the use of photo radar and she asked LPS Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh to speak about it.

Mehdizadeh began by talking about the use of photo radar’s history saying it was a device to promote safer roads and which allowed to free up police officers while still keeping the community safe.

He explained the locations where photo radar are set up is not something LPS chooses arbitrarily.

“Any intersection that has been used comes with research to ensure that is the right place from a road safety perspective,” said Mehdizadeh.

He said a few years ago among many debates from people pro and against the use of photo radar, the province made the decision to stop increasing the number of locations where police could use it.

“However, they didn’t take away the locations that were already approved to be used. The locations where we are using this device are approved, but we cannot add onto them,” said Mehdizadeh.

He said that even though photo radar devices produce revenue, it is important for Lethbridge citizens to know the money collected through them does not go to LPS.

“In Lethbridge the revenue does not got to the police service, it goes to the City. Moving forward we welcome the opportunity to add to the locations where we can deploy this device, but unless the province approves more locations, we are unable to do that,” said Mehdizadeh.

To this, Coslovi asked Mehdizadeh if in his opinion adding more photo radar locations would be a benefit to free up more officers to do other initiatives.

Mehdizadeh said the use of photo radar assists with people reducing their speed, but with the city’s growth in population and people doing stunts, LPS has heard during their community town hall meetings that there is a want for more traffic enforcement in more areas.

“If this device could help us mitigate some of those things and meet their expectations, it would certainly help, but we cannot deploy any more devices in new locations unless the province allows us to do so,” said Mehdizadeh.

Coslovi suggested the commission reach out to the provincial government to ask for more allowed photo radar locations here.

“I would suggest that we write to the provincial government expressing our wish to allow for additional photo radar areas in Lethbridge, given the fact that our population and our growth is getting quite big in Lethbridge,” said Coslovi.

A motion was passed to write to the provincial government to ask for more photo radar locations.

In a statement from LPS later obtained by the Herald, it is stated that they publicize all the locations in the city which are approved for monitoring by photo radar on their website, explaining the rationale for each – high frequency for speeding, high frequency for collisions and playground zones.

 “In addition, we post a monthly calendar that is also shared on social media with all the pre-selected locations that will be monitored that month and our photo radar vehicles are marked with high-visibility signage that says, “Drive Safe” so they are identifiable.”

 LPS wants people to be aware of the locations that are monitored by photo radar because they want drivers to slow down. That’s the goal.

 “Collisions where speed is a factor are far more likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities. According to Alberta traffic collision statistics, one in four drivers in fatal collisions and one in 13 drivers in injury crashes were driving at an unsafe speed.”

 In addition to photo radar, LPS Traffic Response Unit and patrol members also conduct conventional enforcement where drivers who are found to be speeding are pulled over and may be issued a violation ticket.

 “With the snow and ice currently covering our roads it’s important for motorists to adjust their driving habits in line with the weather conditions. Slow down and plan for a few extra minutes to get to your destination. Speeding should never be the reason why you or someone else doesn’t make it home.”

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Say What . . .

Whoop-up Drive! I for one am getting tired of almost getting run over by traffic exceeding the speed limit on Whoop-up Drive as well as losing time because someone speeding has caused an accident.
Moving radar while monitoring driving habits would be beneficial as well. Many still use their cell phones on this road and perform dangerous lane changes, which sometimes cause mutliple vehicle accidents.
When speed limit is reduced to 60 km/hr those of us following the rules almost get run over by speeders!
Photo radar needs to be increased on this road and traffic response unit needs to increase unmarked patrols.

ndg745

Unmarked vehicles should be illegal for traffic stops, it’s only about revenue and not at all about safety when it comes to these vehicles. You do not need a unmarked police vehicle to make traffic stops, the more visible police presence is the safer people drive. I personally will never pull over for an unmarked police vehicle as with all the stories you hear about people impersonating police officers, unmarked police vehicles actually make it even easier for people to impersonate police.
I have no problem with the how photo radar is setup now, but the locations are not beneficial to safety in the slightest, almost never see them in school zones for instance but see them plenty on roads that pose no serious accident risk or public safety risk that are unnecessary to have the low speed limits they do have, like 50km/h limit in an area with very large green strips and no sidewalks or intersections, instead of high risk areas with multiple accidents. Our police and photo radar have to change from what seems like a revenue seeking agenda to an actual safety agenda. I have had police ignore a driver that cut someone off to change lanes without signaling, to give someone a ticket for having window tint, a law which I have been trying to get them to change for a long while as it’s actually statistically safer to have lightly tinted front side windows than clear.