NEWS - Red Light Cameras Now Operating 24/7

24/7 cameraThe Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General has announced that effective at the end of July, 2018 all 140 intersection safety cameras in our province will be operational at all times. The Intersection Camera Safety Program has also increased its staff to review incidents and process additional tickets in a timely manner.


In a press release dated August 7, 2018, Minister Farnworth had this to say:

“For too long, cameras with a proven record of curbing red-light runners and the serious crashes they cause were not operating at full capacity,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Last year, we saw a record 350,000 crashes in B.C., with about 60% of them happening at intersections. The full activation of these cameras is overdue and an important step for safety on some of our busiest roadways.”

The effectiveness of intersection cameras is still in debate. The US Federal Highway Administration suggests that there is a moderate benefit and Monash University Accident Research Center examination found no difference in red light running at intersections with and without cameras. A literature review published in 2014 which looks at a collection of reports from the US suggests:

Despite limited peer-reviewed publications available in the literature, it appears that RLCs decrease violations, crashes, and injuries at intersections. Some studies, however, contained methodological shortcomings. Therefore, the apparent effectiveness should be confirmed with stronger methodological approaches.


Does the ticket go against the registered owner if someone else is driving the vehicle?   I ask, because if my recollection is accurate, I received a red light runner photo of my vehicle (years ago) but I was not driving, my ex was and I was not in the vehicle.  Course he never owned up to it until I got the photo, but I made HIM pay and own it and I don’t recall receiving demerits on my license.  So, I guess what I’m asking, is it possible the owner is able to get the one driving to own up to the infraction and pay the fine, thereby absolving the owner?  Or is this a great “lawyer” dilemma? 

In reply to by Leisa

October 2019

The registered owner of a vehicle is no longer able to nominate the driver for an intersection traffic camera violation.

I have asked for more information on this decision and will post it here if and when it is provided.

Ah, now I recall, you’re right, he had to sign a declaration.

I fully support the cameras, by the way.  I would like to see CCTV also, as they do in Europe. Just the number of crimes solved by these camera’s is detriment to their implementation.

I can't believe it's taken them this long to keep all of those red light cameras activated at the same time, and operational 24/7.

And although I can be perhaps a bit cynical about some policing priorities, as far as I'm concerned there's absolutely no excuse for anyone to run a red light; it's so risky, so dangerous to the health of others.

I've seen two red light runners in the last two days, it's an all-too-common behaviour. I would like to see the driver nomination procedure made mandatory, so that the driver gets the ticket and the points and any other resultant penalties. Don't anybody try and tell me that wouldn't have an effect on driver behaviour.

The most horrific crashes happen when humans make an omission error of not noticing/registering the red light (happens more often with drunk driving). The red light cameras can do nothing to address these issues.

We'd be better off outfitting the high crash locations with strobes and flashing forewarning than simply snapping a picture as they go by.
Red light cameras make 90% of its revenue from cases that would not have hurt anybody, since its pretty rare for people to blast through "full-on" reds, so the majority of tickets are for drivers making left and right turns on red, or entering the intersection on red that has just changed from yellow (cross traffic still has the red light for another 3 seconds).

And once the location of the red light camera becomes known to the local population the overall accident rate goes up as the locals start slamming their brakes ahead of time to avoid the ticket and end up getting rear-ended by motorists who expect the usual "smooth sailing" through yellow/red.

And even worse, red light cameras that were being run by ATS in some US jurisdictions saw the private contractor push for dramatic decrease in yellow/red timing intervals - with the usual minimal 3.3 sec yellows being cut down to as little as just 1 second over many "tweaks" over several years with the aim of increasing the profitability. This has contributed to a major increase in accidents at those intersections.

Cars can be outfitted with auto-brakes and a dead-man switch mechanism like trains, so that it would be nearly impossible for any vehicle to enter a red-lighted intersection. Such solution would cost only a fraction compared to the avalanche of free money landing at the feet of the municipal governments world-wide on an annual basis as a result of "Policing for profits" under the false guise of increasing safety.

The entire topic is completely saturated with bovine excrement at this point - there is no safety in it - just money. We could do mandatory engineering measures to change the whole situation completely and move forward, but from the municipal position we're better off letting people run red lights and collecting the money from the owners with-out any meaningful way of taking the unsafe drivers off the road.

Red lights don't generate points, they don't generate a visit from Police, you could run 10,000 red lights today and if you pay every single ticket on-time, you'll get a little discount.

Its easy to say - "don't run a red light and you won't get targeted", to those people I give a wholehearted "Thank You!" - the fact that your municipal Government has a tap of endless cash that they can spend on whatever they want without much accountability means nothing to you. These Policing for profit programs have only ensured complete fiscal irresponsibility across hundreds of jurisdictions - but who cares if your town or city aren't doing their jobs properly - the budget balances itself with all the ticket money and the "bad drivers" are being punished - so its a win-win for everybody...

No, its a massive loss in credibility, accountability, efficiency and due process of planning and acquisition. What town council is going to fret over their books being in the red when they can just twist up the red-light camera knobs to generate as much cash as they need to cover their fiscal year? What Councillor is going to seek political contributions from their base when they can simply promise a private contractor to OK a few dozen more revenue generating cameras here and there and get their entire reelection budget covered in one donation?

ICBC is screaming its out of money and bad drivers are to blame, so how about they instead start charging insurance per driver and out-price the drivers who get in to accidents regularly? How about every single "driver license holder" is charged insurance on a monthly basis, regardless of whether they drive or not? That will certainly change the entire situation here - only those who need their licenses will have them, and only their sole performance record would affect their premiums and no-one else's. Companies, and private vehicle holders would be held harmless if their property is damaged by a 3rd party driver, and their premiums would be unaffected.

Because honestly, I don't think that your post is about Bona Fide errors (rare as they are).

And I certainly don't think that Red Light cameras have been put in place and activated at all these locations in order to simply generate revenue. Let's face it - if people weren't driving through red lights then these cameras wouldn't ever have been put into use, because they would be as redundant as the trees on the boulevards. And if it was only about collecting revenue (which gets put back into road safety measures) then they would have had them all working 24/7 ages ago.

Driving through an Amber Light that you could have stopped for safely is illegal and dangerous, never mind a Red.

It seems to me that the message you're attempting to communicate though is that it's actually justifiable to run red lights, and that steps taken to counter that behaviour are merely for the purpose of sucking more money into government coffers (or wherever they keep the stuff these days).  So let's examine some of the assertions that you've made.

The most horrific crashes happen when humans make an omission error of not noticing/registering the red light (happens more often with drunk driving).

It's hard to define 'most horrific'. For sure, a T-Bone crash caused by inattention or distraction is certainly likely to cause considerable damage and injury.  But so is a head-on, and it's likely to be worse.

But that's not why they came up with Red Light cameras, and you know it. Random chance is always going to be there, whether you're jogging in Stanley Park and a tree falls on you (this really happened to someone), or driving through a Green Light and and some fool you don't see coming blasts through the Red.

The authorities can't fight random chance, although they can take measures to counter dangerous driving behaviour.

We'd be better off outfitting the high crash locations with strobes and flashing forewarning than simply snapping a picture as they go by.

They're doing that, have been for ages. Additional signage, flashing amber lights before hidden or downhill intersections, or on higher speed highways. More modern pedestrian crosswalks and bike crossings are using strobes to get drivers' attention. Open your eyes, man. (You might also note that usually, those same authorities generally take the measures necessary to ensure that trees aren't likely to fall on us - it's all good ... )

There is no excuse for running a red light. The driver should have stopped for the amber. That simple.

Red light cameras make 90% of its revenue from cases that would not have hurt anybody, since its pretty rare for people to blast through "full-on" reds, so the majority of tickets are for drivers making left and right turns on red, or entering the intersection on red that has just changed from yellow (cross traffic still has the red light for another 3 seconds).

And just where did you come up with that 90% revenue figure? Your overheated imagination?

And if not, then why is it acceptable to you to allow 10% of the drivers out there to intentionally blow through red lights even when it's likely to cause fear, collision, injury or death?

It's not acceptable to me.

Meanwhile, I'm not done with your false assertions (quoted above).

The only legal way to turn left against a red light, is when turning into a One-Way street. I've taken a look at the locations of those 140 cameras, and I'm not seeing where any of them are in that type of situation.  

As for right turns on red, well actually that was a problem back in the earliest days of red light camera technology. I think I'm correct in pointing you toward this camera at East 1st & Clarke as the first one in use in BC, something of an experiment at the time. This was about 25 or more years ago, so far as I recall. It used film of course, and only took one picture of the apparent miscreant. So indeed it did mistakenly cause some tickets to be issued against drivers who had made a legal right turn after stopping. I'm pretty sure they all got quashed when this was discovered.

Modern digital cameras don't work that way though, as they take two pictures in quick succession; so only drivers who have failed to respond/ignored the long amber phase, and actually entered the intersection after the light has turned red get nailed. They should get ticketed, whether they're proceeding straight or turning against the red, there's no difference. And the primary potential victim of right turners who blow the light will be some unfortunate pedestrian, who is always most vulnerable and oftentimes ignorant.

Let's now focus on what you seem to think are hard facts about the duration of various traffic lights, and this is important as the essence of your argument is that Red Light cameras are put in place simply to generate renenue.

Firstly, your assertion that there's always going to be a 3 second gap during which all drivers are facing a Red is just plain wrong. Duration of the gap varies hugely - ever drive in downtown Vancouver? Typically, it's less than half that time.

Certainly, over time, the duration of the all-red has been increased at many intersections. This helps to ensure that pedestrians and turning vehicles have the opportunity to clear. It's not about whether there is potential danger from cross traffic on their fresh Green, but you don't seem to get that.

Meanwhile, the duration of the Amber/Yellow light in BC, so far as I've seen over the years, never seems less than 3 seconds, and a lot longer on higher speed roads. And that's more than enough time to get stopped before the Red. And despite what has occurred in some US jurisdictions, there's absolutely no evidence that any Canadian Government authority (Municipal, Provincal, or Federal - we sure do have a lot of them) has deliberately messed with the timing of the yellow just to grab the cash. If they ever did, there would be an outcry.


I've witnessed a few collisions over the years, but there are two that particularly stand out in my mind.

About three years back, I was northbound on Oak Street in the leftmost lane, behind a white Mitsubishi SUV with Washington plates (looked like a visiting family with small kids in the back). Approaching West 57th, the driver signalled a left turn and just as he got into the intersection our green turned to amber; they paused, waiting for the opportunity to complete the turn, as all of us in the three northbound lanes slowed/stopped, as well as almost all of the three southbound lanes - except for this one jackass in a black Volvo, who sped up to make it through the light. Which was now red as red could be. You can guess the rest; the Mitsubishi driver started to complete his turn, figuring that all was now safe. At the last moment, the Volvo driver realized how badly he had screwed up, and hammered on the brakes. But it was way too late; the nose of his vehicle dived, as it collided with the right rear of the turning Mitsubishi, flipping it onto its roof - it slid upside down into the curb at the southwest corner. Crash damage to both vehicles was huge, and (dependent on the efficacy of the airbags and seatbelts) injuries almost certainly severe. Wouldn't be surprised if they're all still suffering from PTSD. And I'm delighted to see that they've since added red light cameras at that intersection.

And about twenty years back, I was southbound on Lonsdale Avenue approaching 15th Street. Our light was stale red, and the 15th street light had changed - not just to amber, but it was absolutely red when this westbound impatient fool in a white Lincoln put his foot down to gun it through. Meanwhile, some kid - looked to be about 12 years old - was waiting southbound at the west crosswalk, eager to get where he was going; at the moment our light went green and the pedestrian signal facing him went to 'walk', he took off like an athlete. The Lincoln hit him so hard that he flew through the air, and slammed into the front of a van on the other side of the road; he hung there for a moment, then dropped like a rag doll onto the road. It was sickening, and remains seared on my memory.


Meanwhile, quite frequently, I find myself wishing to complete a left turn at a light. And it's outrageous how often some bastard coming straight through towards me, or completing a right turn into the same street, figures it's 'OK' to blow through the red light even though it puts me in jeopardy.

And you know what? I'll be delighted if every damn one of them gets a red light ticket, because their behaviour is selfish and dangerous, and puts my well-being at risk.


Finally, the BC Government will initiate some measures to reduce the causes of vehicle accidents in BC-cameras will run 24 hours a day at high accident intersections,instead of 6.

Soon, Hopefully, speed cameras,whatever the technology.Most excessive speeders are likely impaired or distracted ,causing most accident and injuries on BC Roads

Don’t expect too much change.Lawyers, auto body shops, Physiotherapist's, car dealers are funded by car crashes.It is a huge Industry.Victims are good for this Industry.

Another legacy of the BC Liberals and high speed Former Minister Todd Stone-the outcomes were predicted very accurately by safety professionals , police and ER doctors.Sad.