Mike Allen: Bill signed Friday will "kill" traffic cameras
Governor Kasich is expected to sign a bill on Friday that would allow these cameras, but would put major restrictions on how a city uses them (Photo: FOX19 NOW)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
Traffic cameras as we know them could end for good Friday.
Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign a bill that would severely restrict how jurisdictions use traffic enforcement cameras.
An Ohio Supreme Court ruling Thursday gave cities the green light to use devices, but the issue is now moot. The new law would require police to be physically present with the cameras.
FOX19 NOW legal analyst Mike Allen predicts that will essentially "kill" their use.
"It's not going to be cost effective for a police department to put a uniform police officer while a machine takes pictures of cars," he said.
Allen successfully sued to shut down the devices in the small Hamilton County village of Elmwood Place. A class action lawsuit forced village leaders to repay nearly $2 million to drivers who were cited.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman ruled the ticket policy failed to give people a chance for due process. In his decision, the judge called optional hearings "nothing more than a sham."
"Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3 CARD MONTY. It is a scam that the motorists can't win," the judge wrote in his decision.
Business picked up in the community of 2,170 residents once the cameras were gone.
"It scares people as soon as they see them," said one business owner, Markus Rayford. "People that wasn't coming around, they'd give me a call and say we're not coming around because of the cameras. That was a big issue that I was having with my customers telling me that we can't come now because I don't want to get a ticket."Cities will have to handle these tickets as in-house administrative cases, and no court appearance is necessary.
Several police departments, however, believe the cameras generate revenue for general funds. Other cities including Hamilton and Middletown use them, but it's unclear if that will continue in light of the new restrictions.
"We could use the money but if they'd only put the money into our town, we'd like to know where the money is going," said Elmwood Place resident Joanne Nolan.
Once Kasich signs the bill, it goes into effect after 90 days.