‘Speed camera’ state ban in the works

‘Speed camera’ state ban in the works

ELMWOOD PLACE, OH (FOX19) - A ban on automated enforcement technologies, like the controversial 'traffic cameras' installed in Elmwood Place village is currently being drafted in Columbus.

According to Cincinnati attorney Chris Finney, the Legislative Service Commission is drafting the legislation which State Representative Ron Maag  tells FOX19 he will sponsor.

Finney says the legislation has been in the works for months.

The debate over these traffic monitoring devices is heating up in Elmwood Place Village.

In its commitment to Balanced News, FOX19 is looking into both sides of the argument.

On one hand, city officials argue the radar cameras help cut down on dangerous speeding and they help generate money for a struggling township.

On the other hand, drivers say if it is truly about public safety, officers should be doing the job. They also argue the township should not be balancing its budget on drivers' backs.

"Do you want automated law enforcement really without any opportunity to defend yourself?" questioned Finney.

"These people want to generate cash for their city," he said. "It's happening all over the country and they've been repealed one at a time all over the country."

Finney says the fight to get the units off the streets has to be fought on the state level.

"The only way we can address it on the local level is in charter cities like we did in the City of Cincinnati to put it in the city charter or the city constitution," he explained. "But for cities that don't have that form of governance it can only be addressed through state legislation."

Representative Courtney Combs tells FOX19 he is also working on legislation prohibiting speed cameras. He plans to reintroduce the legislation in the next session.

"We've seen these kind of recall patterns in the past," Optotraffic spokesperson Tim Ayers told FOX19. "Most of them don't go anywhere."

Ayers says Optotraffic, the company that owns the units placed in Elmwood Place Village sees similar responses when units are initially installed in other areas.

"What we've found almost kind of universally is that when you go back to the citizens in Elmwood Place they're going to be pretty much in support," Ayers said.

Ayers says while Optotraffic cameras take the speed and the pictures, local police have to sign off on every citation. He argues the systems have not only withstood court battles, but battles in the court of public opinion.

An Elmwood Place councilmember says the village receives sixty percent of every ticket which comes out to $63 dollars per citation.

Finney expects the legislation to be ready to bring forward for vote in early 2013.

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved.