Ohio’s high court strikes down traffic camera restrictions

The Ohio Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional restrictions that included requiring a police officer to be present

Drivers make their case in Girard traffic court after speed cameras catch them.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – 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.

The justices voted 5-2 in a ruling Wednesday.

The city of Dayton had challenged a state law that took effect in 2015, saying it improperly limited local control and undercut camera enforcement that has made cities safer. Dayton and other cities said the law’s restrictions that also required a three-year traffic study made traffic cameras cost-prohibitive.

The state countered that the law is within the legislature’s powers as a “statewide and comprehensive” way to regulate enforcement of traffic.

State. Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican who helped write the law restricting municipalities’ use of traffic enforcement cameras, called the decision a “pyrrhic victory” for home-rule cities and villages.

The law required that a police officer is present when a camera ticket is issued and established minimum speeds above the speed limit before a ticket can be issued.

Seitz says the Legislature could offset collections from cameras by reducing amounts cities and villages receive through the state’s local government fund. He says the Legislature “will take the profit out of policing for profit” and that the victory for cities and villages will be short-lived.

The state’s highest court has twice previously ruled for cities on cameras.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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