Would you support ‘point-to-point’ speed cameras on Malahat?

The public is being asked whether they support “point-to-point” speed cameras on the Malahat as a tool to reduce speed-related crashes.

The province is considering interval speed cameras as a way to improve safety on the Malahat, but only if there’s broad public support for a pilot project, according to the Capital Regional District’s traffic safety commission.

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In September, the CRD sent a letter to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General asking it to consider installing cameras as a pilot study, and then had discussions with provincial officials.

Colin Plant, chair of the traffic safety commission, said cameras could act as a deterrent for speeders on a “high-consequence” traffic corridor where speed is often a factor in crashes. Crashes often close both lanes of the Malahat, cutting off the main link between Greater Victoria and the rest of the Island.

“I do believe that while some people might be hesitant to accept or promote anything that makes it harder to speed, the average driver is interested in safety and ways to make our roads safer,” Plant said.

Plant stressed that any pilot project would be rolled out after the construction on the Malahat is complete.

Interval-based speed cameras are different from photo-radar systems in that they record the time it takes for a vehicle to travel between two points, rather than clocking the vehicle’s speed at any given moment using a radar device. If a vehicle is found to be speeding, a speeding ticket is issued either on the spot by a waiting police officer or through the mail.

Signs warn drivers of the speed cameras to avoid accusations that drivers are being entrapped.

A video posted on the commission’s website points to a study in Scotland. It found that when a point-to-point system was installed on a crash-prone highway, the number of fatalities and serious injuries dropped by 74 per cent. Similar studies in Australia, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands found that fatalities dropped between 50 and 70 per cent, the commission said.

People can weigh in before March 1 by visiting CRDtrafficSafety.ca for more information and sending feedback to B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth at PSSG.Minister@gov.bc.ca.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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