How fast is too fast for Toronto’s photo radar?

Red light camera

 Toronto Police say there will be no mercy.

With students back in class this week, if you’re caught speeding through a school zone, using your phone at the wheel, stopping where you shouldn’t to pick up your kid, police warn you will be ticketed.

Spt. Scott Baptist, head of the police’s Traffic Services Unit, is anxious to have more power to crack down on dangerous driving around schools with the return of photo radar.

Toronto plans to have 50 speed enforcement cameras—two in each of the city’s 25 wards—installed this December. The rollout hinges on provincial approval of regulations.

While the city and province have been discussing photo radar for well over a year, Baptist says there’s a key question yet to be answered: how fast is fast enough to warrant a ticket?

Baptist says it’s something being considered by a committee of Ontario communities.

While fines exist for driving as little as 1 km/h above a posted speed limit, Baptist suggests ticketing absolutely every speeding car may jam up the court system and sour Torontonians on the photo radar project.

“One of the things that’s really, really critical is to maintain public support,” Baptist explains. “We need people to understand that (photo radar) is reasonable, it’s not extreme. It’s not a cash grab. We’re trying to get people to actually obey the rules.”

Baptist also expects a three month warning rather than a ticket campaign once the cameras are up and rolling.

“Instead of issuing a charge, the person would get a warning in the mail that says that they were caught on the camera so that we can educate people over time.”

Penalties climb with the number of kilometres per hour above the speed limit he car is travelling. There are no demerit points attached to a speeding ticket issued by photo radar and it would be sent to the owner of the vehicle.