red light cameras

The Ohio Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Toledo can no longer send appeals of traffic camera tickets to a city-paid administrative hearing officer. The attorney who won the case says it could shut down traffic camera programs in any city with a similar process.

A judge has granted the city of Dayton’s request for an injunction, putting on hold some provisions in the recently passed state transportation budget. City officials had sued the state over the provisions reducing local state government funding by every dollar generated by red light camera ticketing programs.

Dayton argued the provisions violate the city’s established right to home rule.

New rules on speed and red-light cameras started this month, as the new transportation budget went into effect. But a community near Cincinnati that suspended its newly-created camera program after those new rules is now facing a lawsuit. 

In this Dec. 16, 2014, file photo, a truck passes a red light photo enforcement sign that is placed below a red light camera at the intersection of Route 1 and Franklin Corner Road in Lawrence Township, N.J.
Mel Evans / Associated Press

While the new statewide gas tax went into effect on Monday, there are more rules in the transportation budget that go into effect July 3. Restrictions on red light cameras are among them.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is vowing to fight a provision in the new two-year state transportation budget that would penalize cities for the use of red-light traffic cameras. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine Wednesday signed the bill, which also raises Ohio’s gas tax to fund road and bridge infrastructure repairs.

The transportation budget requires cities that operate red-light cameras to report any fines the cameras generate, and for the state to deduct that income from their state aid allocations.

The city reported roughly $1.9 million in revenue from its camera program 2018.

There are sticking points in the debate over the transportation budget beyond how much to raise the gas tax. One of them is whether the state should impose new rules on communities using traffic cameras.

In this Dec. 16, 2014, file photo, a truck passes a red light photo enforcement sign that is placed below a red light camera at the intersection of Route 1 and Franklin Corner Road in Lawrence Township, N.J.
Mel Evans / Associated Press

It’s been a few years, but state lawmakers are trying again to put rules on local traffic cameras, which they’ve said communities use to generate revenue rather than improve safety. The new regulations are part of the same budget that would raise the state’s gas tax.

Franklin Township Police Officer Jeff Francies on traffic duty.
Nick Evans / WOSU

It’s early afternoon, and Franklin Township Police Officer Jeff Francies is on traffic duty. Taking up a spot in a driveway along Clime Road, he explains how the township’s new speed camera works.

A new analysis by Case Western Reserve University finds that red light cameras do little to reduce accidents at the intersections where they are installed.

Researchers examined data from Houston over a 12-year period, during which the city ended its red light camera program.

Motorists drive past a sign warning of upcoming traffic cameras in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / AP

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the state can cut funding to certain communities using traffic cameras. But the ruling may not have much of an effect.

Motorists drive past a sign warning of upcoming traffic cameras in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / AP

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled four times previously that cities have the right to operate traffic cameras. Now the court is deciding whether a lower court can block a plan to cut state funding to certain communities who use those cameras.

Motorists drive past a sign warning of upcoming traffic cameras in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / AP

A bill halfway through the legislature would allow the state to deduct the amount cities take in from traffic cameras from their state funding. Even though only about a dozen or so communities in Ohio are using cameras, cities are fighting the proposal.

Red light camera in Springfield, Ohio.
Derek Jensen / Wikimedia Commons

The Ohio Supreme Court has again upheld cities' use of traffic camera enforcement, striking down as unconstitutional legislative restrictions that included requiring a police officer to be present. But Columbus officials say the city won't rush to bring their cameras back.

Red light camera
Wikimedia Commons

Once again, state lawmakers are trying to green light new rules for how communities can use speed and red light cameras, especially smaller communities that get a big percentage of their revenue from tickets.

The use of red light cameras is one of those rare issues that doesn’t split along party lines. State lawmakers have banned the use of these traffic cameras unless an officer is present. But one legislator has again proposed adding even more restrictions. 

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