Just call Alberta the land of the lead foot.
Data provided by police forces in major urban centres across Canada indicates motorists in Edmonton and Calgary are most likely to be slapped with a ticket for speeding.
The greatest contrast comes from Canada’s largest city, Toronto, which census data indicates has a population more than double that of Calgary. But police there handed out only about half the number tickets last year.
Local police say some of the number discrepancy can be attributed to factors such as urban sprawl and technology ‘ Toronto, for example, outlawed the use of a photo radar a few years ago.
Still, staff Sgt. Michael Watterston said a large portion of the population continues to push the limits on the road, threatening not only their safety but that of others.
“We have still got some work to do,” he said. “There is no excuse for going over the limit … a minute of your time is not worth the pain you can cause for a lifetime.”
Critics, however, have historically deemed police speed-enforcement ‘ whether it be through photo radar or the use of unmanned cameras ‘ a cash grab.
“Look at those numbers and tell me it’s not about the money,” said Charlie Pester, a former police officer who now works as a traffic-ticket-defence specialist.
“That’s what it has always been about.”
But Watterston said the responsibility still falls on the driver, not his officers, noting that police openly identify areas they are targeting for photo enforcement and a list of speed-on-green camera locations is readily available on the City of Calgary website.
Don Szarko, spokesperson for the Alberta Motor Association, said his group has no concerns with police speed-enforcement, pointing to recently revealed data that indicates a 20 per cent decline in Calgary collisions since 2009 as a result of their efforts.