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Traffic cameras in Youngstown school zones are on hold

Published: Fri, August 9, 2013 @ 12:08 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Because of a possible change in state law over traffic cameras, the city is postponing plans to have the devices placed in school zones.

The Ohio House approved legislation in June to ban the use of the unmanned cameras to catch speeders and other traffic violators except in school zones. Cameras can be in school zones only if a police officer is present.

That defeats the purpose of the unmanned traffic cameras in school zones, said police Chief Rod Foley and Deputy Law Director Anthony Donofrio.

The state Senate will consider the legislation next month.

There is a “good possibility” the Senate will remove the language in the House bill about requiring an officer to be there when the cameras are in use, Donofrio said.

City officials and Redflex Traffic Systems, the Phoenix-based company that was going to install about 10 cameras by now that would be ready to use about the start of the fall term, have agreed to wait until the state Legislature resolves the issue before moving forward.

City council’s safety committee met Thursday and discussed the delay with Foley and Donofrio.

“Instead of doing anything, we’re going to wait,” said Foley, who added that Redflex officials told him the company won’t install traffic cameras until the state makes a decision on the devices.

“We’re going to wait as will Redflex,” Donofrio said. “Redflex doesn’t want to invest in infrastructure until we get word from the Senate.”

Council members started talking about traffic cameras in school zones in 2009, and selected Redflex in June as the company to install them.

The service is free, with Redflex keeping about 30 percent of the money collected.

A law approved by council in June carries stiff fines for violators.

Those driving up to 13 mph over the speed limit in a school zone face fines of $100, it escalates to $150 for those driving 20 mph over the limit.

Motorists caught on the cameras, which were to be turned on only when students are heading to and from school and when they are outside, would be charged with civil violations so it won’t affect their driver’s license or registration.


1grazor50(93 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

If this was a true safety issue, then why would there not be a police officer assigned to watch these areas, their certainly are enough officers available that time of day from tax payers to watch school zones and then do other duties outside those times.

just like everything else the government controllers want,, money grab, do nothing to get the money,, just sit back and have the money come in,,, typical!

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2NoBS(2390 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The city is wise to delay the use of revenue-generating cameras, but I have a bone to pick with this story. The copy reads "the use of the unmanned cameras to catch speeders and other traffic violators" Make no mistake about it - unmanned cameras WILL NOT CATCH "OTHER TRAFFIC VIOLATORS." As long as they don't speed, traffic cams will not react to people driving erratically, nor to people trying to kidnap school children, nor to anything except speeders. The notion that these cameras provide safety is, frankly, a lie. They cannot.

Please stop perpetuating misinformation, Mr. Skolnick. You know better.

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3southsidedave(5166 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Cameras will not deter the craziness on our streets...it is like the Wild West everyone makes their own laws when they drive

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4walter_sobchak(2418 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

You have incorrectly accused Mr. Skolnick of perpetuating misinformation. While these cameras are for speeding in school zones, many have also been installed for catching vehicles running red lights, which may or may not involve speeding. It has been the red light cameras that have caused the most uproar. Mr. Skolnick has properly reported the facts, inspite of the facts that such cameras raise big questions with repsect to due process of law.

You owe him an apology.

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5Jive_Turkey(32 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

You must be brain dead if your idea of safety and security is 24-hour surveillance to monitor your every move. These cameras are nothing but an intrusion to your personal freedoms. Why is everyone okay with the notion that you're guilty until proven innocent?

This is another ploy to further infringe on our rights. You give an inch they take a foot. You give a foot they take ten. Pretty soon we won't have anything else to give and they'll just take.

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6YtownParent(744 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Yes the use of cameras raise a ton of questions about due process. Yes they provide a long strong arm for the state to violate rights, but the actions of council and the legislature (as well as the courts that have ruled against the use of cameras) show the state's ability, if not willingness, to iron those issues out.

I don't have a problem with the use of traffic cameras to catch and fine violators. If we're going to have armed personnel in the buildings to protect against the rare school shooter, maybe we should protect the walkways and crossings outside the buildings as well. I do have a problem with it being unilateral and indefensible in court.

Citations shouldn't be issued solely on the snap of a license plate number to the registered owner of the vehicle.
Cameras should be of high enough quality and positioned correctly to have a clear view of the driver. After a match of the driver's face to BMV records a citation and court date should be issued and the driver should have every right to plead his case, or pay the fine. The state should have to present a clear image of the accused behind the wheel in court. With those safeguards in place, it should be treated as any other moving violation not just a simple civil penalty.

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7bmanresident(607 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The problem is the privatization of these traffic cameras and how they screw up your credit report and not report to the BMV,courts, when there is an infraction. What will happen when there is a small glitch and many fines are enacted when there was no law broken? There is no way of fighting these tickets in court and the company will increase their profits. This is almost as sickening as privatizing the prison system. Afterall, the more that are incarcerated, the more money these companies make.

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