Photo radar no match for wily speeders
A wrinkle in the program could increase operating costs dramatically
by Chuck Poulsen © The Kelowna Daily Courier, Tuesday, September 24, 1996
ICBC concedes that photo radar tickets delivered in the mail may not be enforceable in the courts if they're ignored by speeders.
It's also conceivable the red tape may force taxpayers to support photo radar, rather than having the program generate revenue.
The insurance corporation -- which has been fielding questions from the media on photo radar -- also said yesterday the government is about to re-tender the contract for companies to hand deliver summons to those who ignore tickets received in the mail.
Asked if the government would lose money on tickets that had to be backed up with summons, ICBC spokesperson Leigh Carter said: "Photo radar wasn't designed to make money. It's designed to reduce speeding and accidents."
Carter said tenders went out last spring, but negotiations with the process servers broke down.
"We stopped negotiations because we started to learn more details," said Carter. "We thought it would be better to have a one-year contract (with the process servers) rather than the two years we had originally asked for. So we re-tendered."
Leigh described the delay as "just dotting the i's and crossing the t's'."
However, RCMP inspector Al Mullin told The Daily Courier that if a person ignores a ticket in the mail, he or she would likely have to be served a summons in person before the case could proceed.
The principle is that police could not prove Canada Post had delivered the ticket to the registered owner of the vehicle.
"A person can pay the ticket, dispute it in court or do nothing," said Mullin. "If they do nothing, then after 45 days a summons would have to be personally served."
Mullin said there would be no additional cost nor penalty to the motorist for ignoring the ticket and receiving the summons.
The standard speeding fine is $100.
A check with a local process server, who asked not to be named, said companies in Kelowna usually receive $75 to serve a summons.
"With a summons, you might get a few in one neighborhood and happen to serve them all at the same time," he said. "But usually it takes an hour plus your car costs."
"I think those who were in the bidding last spring backed off because they could see it wouldn't be worth their while at the price the government was willing to pay." said the Kelowna man. "I'd say if everyone ignores their tickets it will plug up the whole photo radar system and the courts."
Carter said one of the finalists in the negotiations last spring was Canadian Corporate Name Search of New Westminster.
Spokesperson Mike Clarabut said yesterday his company was expecting to see the new guidelines for tendering, "but they haven't shown up yet."