Skip to content

LETTER: Traffic court is laughable


Further to the letter by Rick Owen in the Feb. 26 Gazette, I had a similar experience with the Provincial Traffic Court in 2017.

I personally have not had many ‘photo radar’ tickets, other than this one on Stoney Trail East in Calgary. Stoney Trail, as I understand it is a provincial highway, within the city limits of Calgary but whether it is a provincial highway or a municipal roadway the City is allowed to use photo radar subject to the Automated Traffic Enforcement Technology Guidelines set down by the Province of Alberta.

These guidelines are very explicit and ’are designed to ensure fairness and consistency’. They also advise that ‘Automated traffic enforcement will not be in effect on provincial highways’.

Notwithstanding that, there is a very specific section entitled Public Awareness with a section on Signage which requires:
A. Signage
• Permanent Signs shall be posted on primary access roads entering municipalities that use automated traffic enforcement technology, alerting the public that automated traffic enforcement technology is used as a speed and red light enforcement tool in the municipality.
• Freeways, major thoroughfares or other roads that are monitored regularly by automated traffic enforcement technology shall have permanent signs along the route, in both directions, advising that speed is monitored by automated traffic enforcement technology.

As mentioned, I received a photo radar ticket on Stoney Trail which I appealed to the Provincial Traffic Court. My argument was that there was not a single photo radar sign along the entire Stoney Trail East. What really got my craw in the appeal was that the judge would not entertain any discussion of the provincial guidelines as, in her words ‘guidelines are not the law’.

Based on the foregoing and the experience of Rick Owen, it is my opinion that the Provincial Traffic judges are just there as public relations officers to give you a chance to be heard and possibly to get a small reduction in your fine. As Rick says the misapplication of photo radar is ‘laughable from a legal standpoint’. I would go even further and say that the Traffic Court is laughable.

Ken Allred, St. Albert