How photo radars work
Photo radars detect speeding or failure to obey a red light. When violations occur, they take photos of the vehicle and its license plate.
They also record:
- the location, date and time of the violation
- the vehicle's position
- the vehicle's speed
- the colour of the traffic light
The photos are encrypted to ensure confidentiality and are sent to the Centre de traitement de la preuve (CTP), which is under the responsibility of the Sûreté du Québec. From there, each photo is analyzed by a law enforcement officer to determine if a violation has occurred. The vehicle’s interior is masked in the photographs for privacy reasons.
Photo radar objectives
Photo radars provide verification 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of weather conditions. Since drivers are given advance notice when photo radars are present, they tend to modify their behaviour for fear of being intercepted. A decrease in the number of accidents is recorded where these devices are installed.
Approximate decrease in accidents by device type:
- 29% for fixed photo radars
- 28% for red light monitoring devices
- 12% for mobile photo radars
Fines and fees resulting from violations detected by photo radars are credited to the Highway Safety Fund. These sums may only be used to fund road safety and victim assistance measures or programs.
Types of photo radars
In Quebec, three types of photo radars are used:
- fixed photo radars
- mobile photo radars
- red light monitoring devices
Fixed photo radars
Fixed photo radars are installed alongside public roads. They measure vehicle speed and take photos of vehicles when they exceed the speed limit.
Mobile photo radars
Mobile photo radars can be moved from one site to another.
They can be:
- installed on a van
- installed on a trailer
- placed on a tripod on the side of the road
They measure vehicle speed and take photos of vehicles when they exceed the speed limit.
Red light monitoring devices
These devices are installed at intersections with traffic lights. They take photos of vehicles that do not obey red lights. If the speed control function has been enabled on the device, vehicles that exceed the speed limit will also be photographed.
Several types of signs are in place to warn drivers when they are approaching a photo radar.
When a work zone is located on a site where a fixed photo radar is already in operation, the green signs may be retained for the duration of the work.
The photo radar sign is installed between the school crossing and school zone signs to alert users to the presence of a photo radar just before entering the school zone.
You will receive a notice of violation and fine in the mail within 30 days of the violation date. However, you will not accumulate any demerit points on your record as a result of a violation captured by a photo radar.
Photo radar violation notices are not sent by email. Please disregard any email that prompts you to pay an amount online.
When you receive a notice of violation, you must enter a plea of guilty or not guilty within 30 days.
If you were at fault during the violation, you must enter a guilty plea and pay the stated fine, fees and taxes. The file will then be closed and the legal proceedings completed. If you were not the driver of the vehicle, you may indicate this and enter a plea of not guilty.
Photo radar deployment
To implement each phase of deployment, various experts from all government and municipal partner organizations are performing a variety of activities including:
- designing new deployment strategies
- choosing which types of devices to use
- choosing the number of devices to acquire
Planning for the next phase will take place through 2022-2023. Gradual deployment of the devices may begin in late 2023.
Photo radar and red light monitoring device evaluation report (2017) [in French only]
Municipal Cooperation Pilot Project review 2015 - 2017 [in French only]
Last update: February 23, 2023