Report throws cold water on red light cameras in Windsor

Photo by Miranda Chant,

A report to Windsor city council does not recommend the city install red-light cameras at its problem intersections.

Ward 2 City Councillor Fabio Constante asked for the report last February.

Administration listed a host of reasons why it thinks installing red-light cameras and photo radar is a bad idea, including they may actually increase the number of collisions.

“Provincial studies indicate that during their pilot project, angle collisions reduced by 25 per cent and the number of rear-end collisions increased by 50 per cent,” read the report.

A Windsor police cruiser was involved in a crash at Ouellette and Giles, August 20, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

(Photo by Jason Viau)

Between 2013 and 2017, there were 7,335 collisions at signalized intersections in Windsor, of which half were rear-ending crashes.

More collisions will mean more work for police officers. More fines would mean more work for staff at the Provincial Offences Office, which processes fines, more work for prosecutors if drivers chose to fight the penalties and more work for the courts.

Municipalities that have red-light cameras collect 80 per cent of the revenue from fines. However, Windsor would not because it shares the net income from financial penalties with other municipalities in Essex County.

Some fines wouldn’t even be collected because so much of the traffic on local roads is from out-of-province or out-of-country.

The city would not even own the cameras. A vendor would provide the technology, install it, maintain it, and monitor it. Since that could be considered contracting out work, council would need to clear any contract it enters into with CUPE Local 543.

Pursuing photo radar would be just as challenging. A total of 12 municipalities are expected to take part in an initial phase of a provincial program, and Windsor would have to wait until the second phase.

Right now, eight municipalities in Ontario have red-light cameras, including Toronto, Ottawa, and London.

The pilot project goes back to 1998 when the provincial government passed the Red Light Cameras Pilot Project Act. It was extended indefinitely in 2004.

Windsor City Council next meets November 4. Despite the misgivings outlined in the report, if councillors decided to proceed with red-light cameras, a second report will come back with a list of possible intersections.