Photo radar makes comeback this year

Smile speeders: It won’t be long before you’ll be captured on camera.

The City of Toronto is poised to launch photo radar later this year, and has designated more than 700 locations that would be eligible for Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE).

Because photo radar will be located in designated Community Safety Zones around schools, normal speeding fines will be doubled. The tickets will be mailed to the owner of the vehicle, who may or may not be the driver.

A photo radar camera is pictured in Winnipeg. (Postmedia Network)

Demerit points and the immediate licence suspensions and impoundments mandated by the Highway Traffic Act for drivers caught travelling at high rates of speed would not apply with photo radar, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) confirmed.

Fines could range from $21 for going one km/h over the posted speed limit to $1,105-plus for 50 km/h or more.

City spokesman Eric Holmes said council authorized the creation of 754 new Community Safety Zones last year around elementary schools.

A pilot program currently in place — no fines are issued — wraps up later this month.

“At the time of the pilot launch in September, staff anticipated that full program implementation would be late-2019,” Holmes said in an e-mail.

The city could not provide any information yet on how many zones will receive photo radar and whether it would operate around the clock.

Photo radar was introduced to the province’s major highways in the early 1990s by Bob Rae’s NDP government, but the controversial project was scrapped by Mike Harris’ Progressive Conservatives.