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Overhauling speed limit enforcement could help ICBC finances: academic

West Vancouver police will be out in force looking out for speeders and distracted drivers as kids go back to school on Tuesday. (Courtesy West Vancouver Police via Twitter)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – From snapping a picture of your licence plate at the beginning and end of certain highway stretches, to using red light cameras to also track speed while you’ve got a green, a local academic says we can do more to get people to slow down.

Plus, it could provide key help to the financially-crippled ICBC.

The idea, according to Professor Werner Antweiler with the UBC Sauder of School of Business, isn’t to collect cash from speeders.

It’s to introduce technology so effective, it will catch every speeder — and when drivers know that, he says they simply don’t speed, reducing crashes — and thus the payouts ICBC is compelled to make following accidents.

This isn’t just theoretical. Antweiler tells us Scotland saw a 37 per cent drop in fatal and serious road casualties after adopting this approach, called speed over distance technology.

It takes a time stamped picture of your licence plate at the beginning and end of certain highway stretches. If the time indicates on your exit shot indicates you were speeding, you get a ticket.

While photo radar was derided as a tax grab, Antweiler says if this speed over distance camera system is set up in such a way that its use is heavily advertised and it catches virtually every speeder, that argument won’t hold much sway.

“People were always worried about feeling entrapped,” says Antweiler. “When you advertise it well before that, especially something for the average speed section, it’s well advertised, it certainly will be covered in the press, there will be road signs. People will know: if you speed excessively here, you will get caught. And there’s a 100 percent probability of getting caught, so people will stick to the speed limit.”

Antweiler says we could also adapt our red light cameras to track speed while the lights are green, like they do in Edmonton.