‘Speed camera ahead:’ Google Maps adds photo radar warnings for drivers

Police in Alberta say the feature is helpful to them

In this Aug. 8, 2018, file photo, a mobile phone displays a user’s travels using Google Maps in New York. Drivers using Google Maps are now getting a last-minute warning as they approach some photo radar camera locations. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/File)

Drivers using Google Maps are getting a last-minute warning as they approach some photo radar camera locations.

The feature, which is currently being rolled out by Google, allows users to see speed limits, speed cameras and mobile speed cameras on the map before they leave.

READ MORE: Young B.C. driver fined $1,500 for speeding past cop

It also gives a verbal warning — an automated voice saying ”speed camera ahead” — when drivers are near a fixed camera location.

Police in Alberta say the feature is helpful to them.

“The biggest thing we love … is we place those (cameras) by collision statistics,” said Sgt. Joerg Gottschling of the Calgary Police Service traffic section. “If we do a new site, if we are going to install a new camera, the next site is always selected by the next highest crash site.

“Our intersection locations are all determined where we are trying to eliminate collisions.”

Gottschling said they’ve had up to a 50 per cent reduction in collisions in some areas where those cameras are stationed.

With Google Maps, he noted, all drivers approaching the fixed camera intersection get the warning.

“That camera is only facing one way,” said Gottschling. “Let’s say it’s only facing northbound, but you can approach southbound or eastbound … you are still going to get Google telling you caution.

“So you’re going to go slowly and cautiously through there which, lo and behold, is actually what we want.”

Sgt. Kerry Bates with the Edmonton Police traffic division agrees.

“If it slows people down and they know it’s there, that’s good,” he said. “It’s fine. It does the trick.”

Bates said there are about 70 fixed camera locations in the city and they will be adding others in the near future.

Google said in an email that there will also be an ability for android users to report mobile speed cameras and stationary cameras.

The technology company said there’s no plan to merge Google Maps with Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app that allows drivers to share real-time traffic and road information.

The Alberta government is making changes to prevent photo radar from being used as a “cash cow” by municipalities.

As part of the changes, which are expected by June, radar will be banned at spots where the speed limit changes on highways. It also won’t be allowed on high-speed, multi-lane highways unless there is documented proof of safety concerns.

Gottschling said there will still be photo radar on busy roads such as Deerfoot Trail and Stoney Trail in Calgary.

“We will be on those roadways because of the secondary justification of speed, collision and difficulty in traditional enforcement,” he said. “There’s no better way to enforce Deerfoot than with photos.

“We also have to take into account where can we safely position ourselves.”

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Residents weigh in on protecting Sicamous from flooding

Survey and open house allow chance to suggest priorities for flood barrier

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sunny days ahead

It’s beginning to feel like spring in Kelowna

Okanagan Cat Coalition asks for help from community

The coalition has lost over half its inventory of traps

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Here comes the sun

Double digit temperatures will persist through the week

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Kelowna Muslim students hold vigil to support New Zealand victims

A vigil will be held Monday night at UBC Okanagan

Facebook announces changes to political advertising to meet new federal rules

Bill C-76 bans the use of money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns

Sedin twins, NHL ref among 2019 BC Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

Former Vancouver Canucks players Henrik and Daniel Sedin will be inducted this summer in Penticton

National Arts Centre spotlights Indigenous and female artists in upcoming season

Other musical offerings include a salute to Canada’s Indigenous composers

Travel expected to be slowed by fallout from fire at Toronto’s Pearson airport

All U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1 were cancelled Sunday night after the fire broke out near a security checkpoint

Southern Interior worst for animal-related crashes

ICBC stats put the interior at 4,800 incidents in 2017

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Most Read