Ohio Supreme Court says limits on traffic cameras are unconstitutional

(OHIO) WOIO - A decision by the Supreme Court of Ohio lifting limits on controversial traffic cameras is not as far reaching as it sounds. In Cleveland because citizens specifically voted to ban the cameras, a notorious one at 71st Street and Chester Avenue and others throughout the city will not return.

Since the ruling only applies to home rule charter cities the Village of Lindale, which has been issuing tickets all along can continue, but an officer must stationed nearby the camera. The same is true in Newburgh Heights where two cameras on Harvard currently operate when officers are stationed nearby.

It can continue as well as the hand held camera an officer operates over Interstate 77. Traffic cameras have been unpopular since the beginning.

State Legislator Tom Patton does not like the concept.

"The idea of someone driving inappropriately and illegally and then finally getting a ticket 30 days later in the mail doesn't do anything to improve the other drivers safety," Patton said.

Patton believes cameras should be used only if citizens want them, as happened in East Cleveland.

"Put it before your voters if the voters think this is the way they want you to enforce their traffic laws then I say fine," Patton said.

That isn't likely. Patton was a driving force behind the now voided limits on cameras including forcing an officer to witness the violation, saying tickets could only be issued at certain speeds over the limit, and making drivers aware camera's were in use.

Patton's not done as are some other legislators.

"I talked to one of my colleagues today and he said we have the tool bag," Patton said.

In the bag, ideas like subtracting the amount a municipality collects by ticketing from their state aid, requiring tickets to go to municipal courts rather than mayors courts  which would divert fines away from the ticketing agency, as well as voter approval.

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