Ohio Supreme Court strikes down traffic cam restrictions


YOUNGSTOWN

Mahoning Valley communities say they have no immediate plans to change their use of speed cameras, despite an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that grants broader authority to local governments to use the devices.

The court Wednesday upheld cities’ use of traffic camera enforcement for a third time, striking down as unconstitutional legislative restrictions that included requiring a police officer to be present.

The ruling was 5-2 in support of Dayton’s challenge of provisions in a state law that took effect in 2015. The city said it improperly limited local control and undercut camera enforcement that makes cities safer by reducing red-light running and speeding.

Dayton and other cities including Toledo and Springfield said the law’s restrictions made traffic cameras cost-prohibitive.

The court also ruled as illegal requirements that an officer be present when cameras were being used, that there must be a lengthy safety study and public information campaign before cameras are used, and that drivers could be ticketed only if they exceeded the posted limit by certain amounts, such as by 6 mph in a school zone.

A majority opinion written by Justice Patrick Fischer found those three restrictions “unconstitutionally [limit] the municipality’s home-rule authority without serving an overriding state interest.”

Ohio has been a battleground for years in the debate across the United States over camera enforcement.

Read more about the matter in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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