Toronto wasn't consulted by province over rollout of controversial new licence plates

Feb 20 2020, 7:47 am

Toronto has a new photo radar program that is struggling to get data from the new Ontario licence plates, as they are reportedly hard to read in the dark.

A spokesperson for the City of Toronto said the photo radar program is part of the city’s Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) that captures images of vehicles, licence plates, as well as their speed, if they are violating the laws of the road.

The images are reviewed by Provincial Offense Officers and then tickets are issued to the owner of the vehicle regardless of who is driving.

The spokesperson noted that it is still premature to make a conclusive assessment of the readability of the new licence plates in images captured by speed enforcement and red light camera devices because staff are still collecting data from the new plates.

But, “preliminary data suggests the smaller font size of the jurisdiction name (“Ontario”) on the new plates may pose visibility challenges for the cameras during day and night,” the spokesperson said.

It was also noted that an officer must be able to identify a vehicle’s rear licence plate, including the name of jurisdiction, to lay a charge. This is a requirement to be able to prosecute under the law.

According to the spokesperson, city staff have reported their concerns to the province and are in discussion with them to address the issue.

“The city will be exploring possible solutions with its device vendors if the readability of the new licence plates is confirmed to be an issue,” they said. “There were no consultations with the city prior to the rollout of the new plates.”

The licence plates have had a controversial rollout with visibility being the main issue.

Crime Prevention Sergeant Steve Koopman stated in a tweet that the plates were “virtually unreadable at night” asking if anyone consulted with the police before designing the plates.

His tweet was liked over 4,000 times and retweeted almost 2,000 times, launching the public’s awareness of the visibility issues with the new licence plate.

Daily Hive has reached out to the province as well as the manufacturers of the new plates, and will update the story accordingly.