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Red light and photo radar cameras catch OC Transpo drivers on Ottawa roads

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The OC Transpo drivers tasked with safely moving riders across the city of Ottawa received 143 tickets for speeding and running red lights on Ottawa roads through the photo radar and red light camera programs last year.

New statistics, obtained by CTV News Ottawa through an Access to Information request, shows OC Transpo drivers received 87 speeding tickets from automated speed enforcement cameras and 56 tickets through the red light camera program in 2023.

Tickets issued under the red light camera and photo radar camera provisions in the Highway Traffic Act are owner liability offences, meaning the city of Ottawa is legally responsible to pay the fine as the owner of the vehicle.

The City Solicitor says while the city does not require drivers to pay the fines, tickets are addressed as disciplinary matters.

"Employees who commit HTA infractions are subject to discipline, the extent of which will necessarily depend on the nature and seriousness of the misconduct, their length of service, and any prior disciplinary history," David White, Ottawa's City Clerk and Solicitor, said in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

"In 2022, the City implemented a Fleet Safety Program in which operators of City of Ottawa vehicles are given the Authority to Operate (ATO) once qualified, assessed and trained. As part of the management of risk, the City assigns escalating risk levels based on unsafe action, infractions, conditions, or preventable collisions, including offences resulting from speeding and failure to obey a stop sign, resulting in risk mitigation actions up to and including suspension of a driver’s ATO."

Ottawa's red light cameras issued a total of 56,475 tickets to drivers in 2023, up from 45,723 tickets in 2022.  The city's photo radar cameras issued 196,447 tickets in the first 11 months of 2023.

The fine for being caught running a red light by the red light cameras is $325, which includes a service fee and victim surcharge. The fine for being caught by a photo radar camera depends on the speed the vehicle is travelling at the time of the alleged offence.

"They [OC Transpo operators] could face progressive discipline, which would be a letter of warning, a one day suspension," says Clint Crabtree, president of Amalgamated Transit Union local 279, which represents OC Tranpo workers. "Do I think it's enough? I mean, they're out there trying to do do their job and drive safely and and these things happen. So, I mean, I don't like any discipline whatsoever. So I'd rather have no discipline attached to anything."

--With files from CTV News Ottawa's Tyler Fleming.

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