Less speeding and fewer red light violations mean greater safety for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and motorists but, more importantly, more lives saved! In Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia, photo radar devices and red light cameras* are now part of motorists' everyday lives, and they are proving their worth.
Photo radar devices and red light cameras are successfully used in Ontario and all Canadian provinces west of Québec, as well as in over 70 other jurisdictions such as the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Australia, Asia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Tunisia, and Morocco.
In June 2007, the Table québécoise de la sécurité routière drew inspiration from these positive experiences and recommended that the ministère des Transports du Québec put a pilot project in place involving the installation of photo radar devices and red light cameras. This pilot project, which involved 15 devices, began in August 2009.
An evaluation report including recommendations was tabled in the National Assembly on October 20, 2010. Then, in November 2011, the Commission des transports et de l'environnement made six recommendations to the Minister of Transport in the event that the government should decide to permanently implement the use of these devices on Québec roads. In February 2012, the Minister announced the permanent use of these surveillance systems, as well as the implementation of new equipment.
*The terms used in Québec legislation to designate these devices are "photo radar devices” and “red light camera systems".
The objective of installing photo radar devices and red light cameras is not to issue fines, but rather, to improve road users’ safety. The purpose is to save lives, prevent human tragedy and reduce the social costs of accidents and deaths on Québec's roads.
Reducing the number of deaths and injuries
Speeding and red light violations are major factors contributing to traffic accidents. In Québec, 41% of traffic fatalities are linked to speeding, and 25% of bodily injuries occurring at intersections equipped with traffic lights are caused by red light violations. Photo surveillance systems have considerably reduced the number of accidents associated with those two types of Highway Safety Code violations.
Changing drivers’ behaviour
Photo radar and red light cameras can control traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of the weather conditions. Their presence, which is always indicated in advance, directly impacts drivers’ behaviour by changing their perception of the risk of being caught, sometimes even in areas where there are no devices.
Where Does the Money Go?
The money raised by fees and fines resulting from statements of offence are deposited in the Fonds de la sécurité routière (highway safety fund). As is stipulated in the Act, the amount that accumulates in the fund can be used to finance road safety measures or to assist road accident victims.
An advisory committee composed of seven members of the Table québécoise de la sécurité routière, including at least one person representing passenger vehicle drivers, was formed to advise the Minister of Transport on how to use any fund surplus.
Collaborators and Partners
Ministère des Transports du Québec
The ministère des Transports du Québec manages this road safety improvement measure and cooperates with a number of public partners. It coordinates all the stakeholders’ actions and is in charge of the project’s technical component (purchase of devices and guidelines on the use of devices and signage). The Ministère is also in charge of the communication plans and of change management.
Ministère de la Sécurité publique
The ministère de la Sécurité publique coordinates the management of police operations related to the use of photo radar and red light cameras.
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) runs the evidence processing centre and hosts the central evidence processing solution. It manages all operations of the evidence processing centre, specifically evidence analysis and the production of general violation reports (RIG). Like the police forces in the municipalities participating in the pilot project, SQ officers use mobile photo radar devices.
Finally, the Association des directeurs de police du Québec (ADPQ) plays a representative and participatory role in the management of these operations.
Ministère de la Justice du Québec
The Bureau des infractions et amendes (BIA), reporting to the ministère de la Justice, handles general violation reports (RIG), which are later converted into statements of offence, if applicable. The BIA sends the statements to the owners of the vehicles that are at fault and enforces judgements by collecting fines.
Director of Criminal and Penal Cases
The Director of Criminal and Penal Cases serves as the prosecutor in judicial matters related to statements of offence issued as a result of a violation detected by photo radar.
Centre de services partagés du Québec
In addition to providing administrative support, the Centre de services partagés du Québec provides telecommunication links between the different management centres.
Services Québec is a partner in this road safety improvement initiative; its role is to facilitate public access to information.
Pilot Project with the Municipalities
The experiment carried out with photo radar devices and red light cameras proved that these were an effective way to increase road safety. Accordingly, the Minister of Transport announced their permanent use in February 2012. He also announced the implementation of a cooperative pilot project with municipalities. Photo radar devices will be installed and used in collaboration with the participating cities. The purpose of the pilot project is to determine the type of cooperation that is best suited to the municipal context.
The cities of Gatineau and Laval, as well as the urban areas of Québec (city of Québec, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures and L’Ancienne-Lorette) and Longueuil (Boucherville, Brossard and Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville), are all participating in this pilot project. The commitment of these cities is indicative of the consensus in Québec in favour of the use of photo radar devices and red light cameras to improve road safety.
Ville de Montréal participated in the initial photo radar project in 2009 and will continue to cooperate closely in the next pilot project, but will not increase its equipment fleet. The existing devices will continue to operate.
The devices introduced in 2009 in the municipalities of Thetford Mines, Lévis, Beauceville, Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, Saint-Constant, Pincourt and Marieville will also remain in service.
To find out more about the initial photo radar project, consult the following sections:
The protection of personal information and information security is a government priority.
Data is transmitted in a fully secure electronic environment. Exchanges of information between devices, the evidence processing centre, and the Bureau des infractions et amendes (BIA) are managed by the government's computer network.
All data is encrypted to ensure confidentiality, data integrity, and sender authentication. Only authorized police and BIA personnel are permitted to access the information.
Additionally, the interior of the vehicle is masked in photographs in order to respect privacy.
Documents, like all police files, are archived in a secure environment.