Photo radar double-dips

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Edmonton woman ticketed twice in 11 seconds

Eleven seconds in St. Albert cost an Edmonton woman $178, after two of the city’s photo radar cameras caught her in quick succession.

When the two $89 tickets arrived in the mail last month Michele Perret said she initially thought it was simply all the paperwork for one ticket.

“I thought that they were the same ticket at first, when I first received them,” she said. “It wasn’t until I sat down to pay them that I went ‘wait a second these are two separate numbers.’ ”

Perret was travelling south on St. Albert Trail when she went past the intersection camera at Gervais Road going 15 kilometres over the 60 km/h limit.

A short distance down the road, the long arm of the law caught her again, this time with a mobile camera parked beside the road.

Perret said she isn’t an aggressive driver, but, like most, occasionally her foot gets a little heavy.

“I don’t like to speed. I don’t think one should speed and there is a safety factor there.”

Getting two tickets in a row like that, however, gave her no chance to slow down.

“In a situation where there are two cameras a few feet apart or a few seconds apart, you don’t have that same opportunity to correct your behaviour.”

The city’s photo radar program includes a mobile unit and intersection cameras. The intersection cameras were originally designed to catch drivers running through red lights, but were converted in 2009, after a change in provincial law, to allow them to catch speeders as well.

Terri Tereposky, the administrative support supervisor for the city’s photo radar program, said the cameras are not meant to be doubled up, but are there to catch speeders who don’t go through the intersection on that stretch of road. They are meant to catch people turning at the intersection.

“Other lanes enter onto that roadway that aren’t monitored by the intersection camera.”

Tereposky said drivers should call the inquiry line on the tickets if they have the same problem, and duplicate tickets like this will generally be quashed.

“We would consider that the same offence and usually people just call in and say I got two tickets,” she said. “We would not proceed with one of them if we were made aware.”

In this case, two separate officers reviewed the tickets, so there was no chance to notice the duplication. She said even if it had been the same officer it might have been difficult to spot.

“It would be hard to think in the stack of pictures that I remember this one.”

Perret said she did call the inquiry number, but was told she would have to go to court and plead her case if she wanted the ticket thrown out.

A letter Perret included when she mailed in payment for the tickets did not make it to the appropriate person Tereposky said, likely because the tickets went to the courthouse and not the detachment.

Tereposky said now that they have been made aware of Perret’s situation they will attempt to rectify it, but that could take some time because she has paid the tickets.

She said people in similar situation should contact the inquiry number posted on the tickets and should not pay tickets they don’t believe they are guilty of.

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St. Albert Gazette

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