03/16/2012 11:42 EDT | Updated 05/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Traffic Cameras Result In 500% Spike In Richmond Offences


An increase in the number of traffic surveillance cameras at intersections has resulted in a 506-per-cent increase in the number of offences in Richmond, B.C., in 2011.

Permanent cameras have now been installed at more than 140 intersections across B.C., where there used to be just 30 cameras rotating through 120 locations.

The increased surveillance led to an expected increase in tickets in most locations, but nothing like that seen in Richmond.

"Most of the communities that have cameras did see an increase. We had predicted originally that we would see a 50-per-cent increase program-wide, so that's about what we did see actually," said ICBC road safety manager Mark Milner.

Milner said the sharp rise in infractions in the Vancouver suburb can be partly explained by the way the cameras have been used.

"First of all, they didn't have cameras operating as much in 2010 as they normally would have. But then in 2011, they had cameras active for a much longer period of time than a lot of other communities," said Milner.

Long-time driving instructor Curtis Strelau, of Young Drivers of Canada, attributes Richmond's high offence rate to driver inexperience.

"It's new drivers, for the most part,” Strelau said. “They don't have the experience in judging how quickly the car will stop and rarely do they check the mirror to know whether it is safe to stop or not."

His advice to drivers is to just slow down.