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An automated speed camera is seen in Toronto, on Feb. 3, 2020.

Fred Lum/the Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor John Tory says the city has a speeding problem as he announced automated speed cameras are now operational.

He says 50 cameras installed in school zones led to more than 22,000 tickets being issued over the course of a month this summer.

Mr. Tory says the cameras were installed just before the pandemic hit in March and became operational on July 6.

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He says the province granted the use of the cameras in school and community safety zones.

The announcement comes at the same time as police launched its school and bicycle safety campaigns.

The tickets do not come with the loss of demerit points and do not affect a person’s driving record.

“These are very sobering numbers and this is a very serious problem that we collectively as a city have to come to grips with,” Mr. Tory said at a news conference Monday.

Mr. Tory said there were more than 2,000 repeat offenders in the first month the speed cameras were turned on.

He said one camera in the northwest Toronto near two schools issued more than 2,700 tickets.

The highest speed the cameras recorded came at the same spot where a driver was nabbed going nearly 50 km/h over the posted 40 km/h limit.

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“Who would drive in the city near two schools at 50 km/h above the limit?” Mr. Tory said.

Mr. Tory said one vehicle was caught 12 times for speeding, but is hopeful the cameras will alter behaviour.

“The data tells a frustrating story, but I’m confident that will ultimately will lead to a change in behaviour, which is the whole idea,” Mr. Tory said.

Toronto police got rid of its traffic enforcement squad in 2013, but brought it back temporarily after an outcry from advocates last year amid growing pedestrian and cyclists deaths across the city.

Police said Monday a permanent squad with highly visible officers will be out on the streets later this fall.

“The officers will conduct intelligence-led enforcement activities in locations determined by data from collisions, speed monitoring and more,” Toronto police said in a statement.

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