Ontario considers redeploying photo radar in school zones

Ontario considers redeploying photo radar in school zones

Ontario considers redeploying photo radar in school zones Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne recently announced new legislation that, if adopted, could see photo radar devices installed in school zones.

The bill would allow municipalities to use “automated speed technology” to capture photos of license plates on speeding vehicles in school zones and in similar delicate areas such as daycares, parks, seniors’ homes and hospitals.

“Kids will be safer because of these decisions,” Wynne said before a crowd at Elmdale Public School Tuesday.

Ontario previously adopted photo radar technology in 1994 under then Premier Bob Rae. A year later, it was scrapped by Premier Mike Harris. Since then, the technology has come under fire, with critics calling it a possible “cash grab” for the city.

Wynne explained that any revenue generated from the use of photo radar technology would stay with the municipalities.

Mayor Jim Watson was initially against photo radar, but later changed his stance when he was told it would only be used in school zones, and only if the ward councillor permits it.

“This gives us a tool to deal with a serious problem,” Watson told CBC News Tuesday.

Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau praised Wynne’s proposal of the bill, saying that the technology would deter speeding and allow him to deploy officers to more pressing matters.

“This is about saving lives ... this is about changing driver behaviour,” Bordeleau said.

If the bill is passed, municipalities will be permitted to lower default speed limits from 50 km/h to 40 or 30. Additionally, municipalities will be allowed to lower limits for individual neighborhoods or wider areas under the law. The bill would also streamline Ontario’s red-light camera program, allowing cities to circumvent the regulatory approval process.

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