Councillors have issue with residential and highway speeding fines being the same
Speeding in residential areas of Alberta could cost drivers more money if Calgary city council gets its way.
Council gave Mayor Naheed Nenshi the green light at the May 12 regular council meeting to craft a letter compelling the Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General Jonathan Denis to amend the province’s Traffic Safety Act to increase the fine for speeding in residential areas.
It currently costs $89 for speeding 15 kilometres over the speed limit, but that penalty is the same for highway and residential street driving.
Some councillors sought stiffer penalties for residential street speeding because they believe residential speeding is a worse offence than highway speeding.
“The fines are the same for a 15 km/h infraction on a highway as it is a community,” Coun. Richard Pootmans said. “That does not express the risky reality of going 15 kilometres over the speed limit in a community.
“We have to look at speeding fines as part of the solution to the pedestrian fatalities we are enduring and the hundreds of collisions we are seeing with injuries.”
Photo by Max Foley
Coun. Peter DeMong says this proposal is “not a large crevasse that needs to be leaped over,” but rather a small step towards “modifying behaviour in a manner that will hopefully have the desired results in having people slow down in residential areas.”
None of the councillors brought up specifically how much the new fine should be. However, different council members suggested ways to mitigate residential area fatalities in conjunction with the proposed hiked fines.
Coun. Andre Chabot proposed getting the Alberta government to drop the speed limit in residential zones from 50km/h to 40km/h.
Ward 12. Coun. Shane Keating advocated for photo radar in residential areas.
Ward 4. Coun. Sean Chu says there should be more province-wide education on the matter of residential speeding.
Pootmans said there is no singular “magic bullet” to significantly reduce speeding incidents in residential areas, and the increase in speeding fines would have to be enacted along with the other ideas suggested by council.
While council unanimously approved Nenshi writing the letter about increasing residential speeding fines, concerns were brought forth by Couns. Ward Sutherland and Jim Stevenson that without direct evidence higher fines can reduce fatalities, this notice of motion can be viewed as a tax collection initiative.
Pootmans responded by saying this initiative is about public safety and not tax collection, and while there are no statistics that directly state higher speeding fines are the major reason fatalities decrease in a particular area, stiffer fines for residential speeding is a great first step to lessening the problem.