Enforcement cameras coming to N.L. to help curb 'significant' traffic problems

Highway traffic cameras to capture drivers' bad behaviour are coming to Newfoundland and Labrador as the provincial government says it wants to combat "significant" problems on roadways.

Plans are in the works to amend the Highway Traffic Act and install the cameras, which the government terms an 'image-capture enforcement system.'

"We do have an issue in the province with the passing of school buses, when we are embarking or disembarking children, and also [speeding] in construction zones," said Service NL Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh.

While school and construction zones have considerable issues, Gambin-Walsh said, red lights are also proving to be problem areas.

Installing cameras came up during provincial consultations on regulatory changes to automobile insurance in 2017 and 2018, with members of the public, the insurance industry, and police asking for them, said Gambin-Walsh.

Such enforcement cameras already operate in six Canadian provinces, said Gambin-Walsh, from Quebec westward. She said both Saskatchewan and Alberta have "documented positive impacts" from their use.

Cameras in Leduc, Alta., just outside Edmonton, caught 500 violations in a week after being installed this summer.

Nick Ut/Associated Press

Late 2020 or early 2021

The regulations are in the midst of being changed, and Gambin-Walsh anticipated that legislative legwork would be completed by late summer 2020.

After that, the cameras would launch with a pilot project, she said, most likely in a school zone or multiple school zones, as there are "significant issues" there.

If that proved worthwhile, Gambin-Walsh said, the project would expand to construction zones and red lights.

There will be signs up to alert drivers to the monitoring, she said, adding the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has noted that as a requirement.

The pilot project could be up and running by late 2020, or early 2021.

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