Lawmakers considering options to end dragon cameras

Lawmakers considering options to end dragon cameras
Dragon camera (Source: WOIO)

NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - The debate over cameras used to generate traffic tickets is likely to gear up soon.

With the growing use of so called "Dragon cameras" there is concern among some state legislators that the cameras are nothing more than a way to skirt  regulations limiting ticketing.

The legislature passed Senate Bill 342 which took effect almost a year ago. It said a police officer must be present when an automated camera is working.

The effect of the measure was that most cities stopped using the cameras.  But not all did.

In Linndale, a camera on Memphis Avenue is monitored daily by an officer from a small structure nearby.

It is in Newburgh Heights where the Dragon cameras come into play. Almost daily an officer can be seen on the Harvard overpass on Interstate 77 searching for speeders.

The camera is expected to generate 20% of the city's revenue this year, according to Mayor Trevor Elkins.

Legislators including State Senator Tom Patton see this as an end around to SB 342. He says several approaches are being considered.

One would limit the number of tickets a municipality could write to two per resident. In the case of Newburgh Heights and its 2200 residents, it would be limited to 4400 tickets.

Linndale has less than 200 residents and could write fewer than 400 tickets, far below what it currently writes.

A second approach would be to limit the percentage of a city's budget could be generated from traffic cameras.  Draft versions of the proposals should be available in a few weeks.

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