House passes bill to kill red light, speed cameras

Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 @ 4:50 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 @ 4:50 PM


            Traffic enforcement cameras monitor traffic along Smithville Rd. in Dayton. More than 150 speeding tickets a day were issued last year by the Dayton Police Department. Motorists were cited 58,226 times in 2012. A Dayton Daily News investigation found only 2,649 were written by a police officer. That means six tickets an hour were issued by a half a dozen speeding cameras located in the city. LISA POWELL / STAFF
            Lisa Powell
Traffic enforcement cameras monitor traffic along Smithville Rd. in Dayton. More than 150 speeding tickets a day were issued last year by the Dayton Police Department. Motorists were cited 58,226 times in 2012. A Dayton Daily News investigation found only 2,649 were written by a police officer. That means six tickets an hour were issued by a half a dozen speeding cameras located in the city. LISA POWELL / STAFF(Lisa Powell)

The Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 61-32 to ban using red light and speed cameras throughout Ohio.

House Bill 69 now goes to the Ohio Senate, which won’t consider it until after its summer recess.

As a consolation to law enforcement officials who said the cameras help reduce crashes, legislators carved out an exception allowing communities to operate speed cameras in school zones during school hours as long as a police officer is present to monitor the machine.

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Bill sponsors Reps. Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, and Dale Mallory, D-Cincinnati, said the cameras have been used as a cash grab and bypass due process. They were inspired by the case of Elmwood Place, a Hamilton County village of roughly 2,200 people that issued $1.5 million in tickets during the first six months its speeding cameras were on.

A judge ordered the cameras shut down last March.

Police and local governments that operate the cameras oppose the ban, saying they have helped reduce crashes and free up police resources to fight more serious crime.

Removing the cameras, which bring in anywhere from thousands to millions in fines to the 14 communities who currently have them, would leave a hole in their budgets that would require them to lay off employees or ask voters to increase taxes, opponents argue.