Officials in Winnipeg, Canada were caught this weekend defying a court ruling that outlawed the use of photo radar in work zones when workers are not present. A group of residents organized by the group WiseUp Winnipeg have decided to fight back, first by recording the automated ticketing van as it operated in a Route 90 "construction zone" on October 10 at 3:30pm with no workers in sight.
In February a judge ruled that speed cameras could be used in reduced 60km/h (37 MPH) zones "only when workers are present" (view ruling). The judge canceled all the photo tickets brought to his attention, sparking a province-wide debate on whether Winnipeg should have refunded the fines illegally collected. Ultimately, the city refused to do so.
Larry Stefanuik, a former police constable who now helps motorists fight traffic tickets, was shocked at how blatantly the city was violating the law as he recorded the incident. The unmarked ticketing van was not only operating in a workerless zone, it was also positioned less twenty yards from the end of the construction zone barricades.
"I really just could not believe that they would park that close to the end of a construction zone," Stefanuik said. "It was absolutely ridiculous. It's inappropriate... They're obviously trying to take advantage of a motorist who, after being tied up in the slow area of the zone, starts to speed up prematurely as they approach the end and enter a higher speed zone."
At least one motorist pulled over to speak to the speed camera van driver (see photo). Others began to put out bright yellow warning signs that read "$low Down Photo Enforcement Ahead" to prevent the camera from surprising drivers.
"The only way to stop photo enforcement is to continue to bring out the truth and prevent it from making money," Stefanuik said. "Without its food source the system goes broke and goes away."
Studies show that highway construction zone workers are far more likely to be killed in accidents involving their own equipment than by drivers exceeding a work zone speed limit (view studies). Work zone fatality statistics often include incidents in which workers are hit by construction equipment including dump trucks and asphalt steam rollers.