There is a high level of public support for an increased level of traffic enforcement on roads and highways, including the use of photo radar to tackle excessive speeding and the running of red lights, says the Canada Safety Council.
According to a new Ipsos-Reid poll commissioned by the Canada Safety Council, 77 per cent of respondents support the use of cameras to identify vehicles that go through intersections after the light has turned red.
Support for photo radar was also high when it came to specific areas, such as highways and school zones.
The poll found that 69 per cent support the idea of photo radar on highways, while support is even higher in school zones, at 84 per cent.
"If you look at some recent incidents of late, the carnage, the loss of life and injuries and terrible property loss -- you know, Canadians want something done, and I think politicians will have to do something about this," said the Council's past-president, Emile Therien.
The use of such technology has been proven to improve road safety, and Therien cited two major studies:
A Ministry of Transportation study done in 1995, after photo radar was rescinded in Ontario, found that the most substantial reductions in speeding were achieved on roads where cameras were in place.
A six-year study of B.C. "red light" cameras found there were 70 fewer fatal collisions every year, and more than 1,500 injuries were prevent(ed) because of the cameras and the related fines.
"The perception of apprehension is a great deterrent," Therien told CTV Newsnet.
"There's absolutely no question."
"I don't care who you are -- from the richest man on this planet to somebody like me -- you don't like to pay fines."
But Tony Cannavino, with the Canadian Police Association, said governments use photo radar to make an easy buck -- and it isn't the best way to curb speeding.
"I mean, what's the purpose here? The purpose is to reduce speed ... not to become a huge tax machine that would be better than a casino," Cannavino said.
The Canada Safety Council says that Canadian jurisdictions have been slow to adopt photo technology. Alberta uses red light cameras and photo radar more than any other province. British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario and Manitoba have some cameras in place, and Quebec has just announced a pilot project in 2008.
According to the survey:
* Two in five Canadians (42 per cent) said they would like to see more traffic enforcement;
* About half of those surveyed (49 per cent) felt the current level is about right;
* Just seven per cent felt there was too much, down from nine per cent in 2003;
* 73 per cent of women polled support the return of photo radar while just 64 per cent of men are in favour of it;
* When asked if there should be warning signs to advise of the possible presence of photo enforcement, 67 per cent said yes.
Ipsos Reid interviewed 1,002 adult Canadians between July 10 and July 12, 2007. When speaking nationally, these results are accurate to within 3.1 per cent points, at a 95 per cent level of confidence.