Adventures in Everyday


Winnipeg Police Letter

My Letter:

To: wps-photoradar
Subject: … : Request For Information – Insufficient red light camera statistics on website
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 11:25:08 PM
IP: 123.456.789.012
Message:

Hello,

I’m deeply concerned about the inadequate supply of red light camera (RLC) statistics on the Winnipeg Police Service website [see here]. I see ample information concerning the number of RLC tickets issued over the past number of years, but, specifically, I do not see any data regarding intersection accidents. I believe that the Winnipeg Police Service and the people of Winnipeg would benefit from having ready access to a large body of documentation, studies, and statistics about RLCs, which could be made available on the Winnipeg Police Service’s public website [see here].

The lack of easily-found public information about RLCs is concerning because a simple Google search for RLC statistics reveals many web pages which actively denounce the use of RLCs out of safety concern. After reading through many of these web pages, the most common conclusion that I’ve read is that RLCs actually increase intersection collisions, especially rear-end collisions.

HOWEVER, being affiliated with the University of Manitoba I have been able to access many scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. I have found many informative articles (many in disagreement with one another, as science is), but, overall, it seems like the benefits of RLCs do, in fact, tend to outweigh the costs. There is a lot of research still being conducted but I feel a lot better about the system now than I did previously.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about red light cameras. I’m sure that many Winnipeggers have searched the internet for answers, but most people do not have access to scholarly journals.

The first place That I looked to for information was the Winnipeg Police Service website, and I’m sure that most people would do the same. If there really is more benefit than cost to the use of red light cameras, why not present the public with mounds of evidence and data?

The Winnipeg Police Service’s goal is “to make the city streets safe for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike,” according to the website [see here]. I firmly support this goal. The effectiveness of the service, however, cannot be measured merely by the number of tickets being issued – which happens to be the only statistics that I can find on the website [see here].

The website states, “we believe most drivers will adjust their driving behaviour.” [see here]. This, too, is not very encouraging. The people of Winnipeg assume that every police service policy implemented is done for good reason and with sound precedent. Thus, I should be seeing data tables and summaries rather than the “we believe” statement above.

The website says “the system contains the technology to constantly evaluate the program.” [see here]. That must be true. So can we view the final analyses? I would certainly like to.

After much research I am happy to see that Winnipeg has red light cameras. I would like for every Winnipegger to feel the same. Please give the public more reason to support the system.

Please reply.

Sincerely,
Brendan J. Boehr

Their response:

Good Morning Brendan,

With respect to your first email, all offences are verified 3 times by 3 different individuals….if there is any concern or evidence of a vehicle sliding into an intersetion and activating a red light camera due to poor road conditions as described – the offence notices are usually not issued out, as there are other factors such as speed to consider. Thank you for the heads up on your incident, all will be taken into consideration.

Note: Thankfully, I have not received a traffic ticket from the incident! Thus, I encourage all drivers to write to the police when they think they have been improperly photographed.

Now on to your second email. The Winnipeg Police web page has generalized information for those interested in the program. However, the Conditions of Authority with the Provincial Government dictate that an annual report on photo enforcment is submitted with much greater detail with other forms of analysis within. This is no doubt the type of information you refer to. Should you wish to have portions of this document or data, you must submit your request in writing to the Chief of Police.

I agree with you in that there are many different viewpoints on Photo Enforcment , as there is data to suggest and increase in rear end collisions. What is the alternative? if this is the case, rear end collsions are proven to be more survivable that right angle collsions as the rear end incidents tend to be more “fender bender” type of severity.

I have also found, and not necessarily specific to just photo enforcment but to everything as a whole, the Internet is a great source and a wealth of information – however, that statement comes also with caution. People have a tendance to believe everything they read only because it comes from the world wide web and dont necessarily consider that its other peoples opinions their reading. I have difficulty believing that in all the photo enforcment municipalities across the globe with thier studies, analysis, evaluations by traffic engineers, road safety organizations and the like – that these programs dont have an impact on the safety of road users.

Thank you for taking time to contact us.

regards,

[Officer’s name and number removed]

Winnipeg Police Service
Central Traffic Unit
Strategic Traffic Operations
Ph# 928-7603
Fax# 986-6545


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

[…] Winnipeg Police Letter […]

Pingback by Red Light Cameras « Adventures in Everyday

Hi Brendan, came across your blog while doing some research. If you want the real goods on Photo Enforcement then come check out my site, http://www.trafficticketguru.com

Larry
Trafficticketguru.com

Comment by Trafficticketguru




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