Tim Schewe

Drivesmart column: Accountability: nominate the driver

Nominating the driver for ISC offences one tool that could raise accountability for bad drivers

By Tim Schewe

The state of New South Wales, Australia has just tightened their rules on intersection safety camera violations. Companies were not nominating the drivers of their vehicles who were responsible for the violations as that state requires. This amounted to approximately 7,000 events that drivers were not held accountable for.

New South Wales operates an intersection safety camera system similar to the one here in B.C. There are two significant differences though: mobile and average speed cameras are used and drivers receive points when convicted.

Vehicle owners can nominate the driver when someone else was using their vehicle and drivers who were using someone else’s vehicle can nominate themselves.

The entire process can be accomplished online and camera images can be accessed by providing the penalty notice number and date of the offence.

Effective in July 2021 a penalty of up to $22,000 could be imposed on companies who fail to nominate the driver responsible for an intersection safety camera violation.

The state publishes an annual review of speed camera programs, the latest available is for 2019. It claims that at fixed speed camera locations there has been a:

• 36 per cent reduction in casualty crashes

• 74 per cent reduction in fatalities

• 41 per cent reduction in injuries

representing a saving of $530 million to the community.

The reductions at camera locations compare to the state wide change over the same period:

• 18 per cent reduction in casualty crashes

• 35 per cent reduction in fatalities

• 20 per cent reduction in injuries

Their red light camera program reports similar numbers and includes a 52 per cent reduction in pedestrian casualties compared to 30 per cent in general.

Revenue from the cameras fund road safety initiatives including engineering works, enhanced enforcement by the NSW Police Force, public education campaigns and community grants. B.C. also follows this practice, but does not restrict the use to fund road safety specifically.

Accountability is one way of encouraging drivers to share the roads safely. While New South Wales is strengthening it, B.C. seems to have chosen to go in the opposite direction. Today the only intersection safety camera violation that forms part of any driving record in B.C. is when a commercial vehicle with a National Safety Code safety certificate is identified. Those convictions form part of the company profile.

The Intersection Safety Camera (ISC) program is not effective when the vehicle involved in the violation is towing a trailer as that licence plate does not identify the motor vehicle pulling it.

With our recent changes to ICBC coverage we certainly have a stake as victims in seeing that crashes are reduced. Nominating the driver for ISC offences is one tool that we could use to raise accountability for bad drivers.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca