1/28/2008Ohio: Speed Camera Warning Signs Hidden by Cones
Speed camera operators in Akron, Ohio boost revenue by hiding warning signs with traffic cones.
Speed camera operators in Akron, Ohio are concealing signs designed to warn motorists of upcoming ticketing zones. The for-profit vendor that runs the cameras, Nestor Inc, earns $19 for each citation it is able to drop in the mail. Its employees have placed bright orange cones directly in front of signs in several locations to obscure the wording. The signs, which read "Photo Enforcement Zone Ahead" in small letters, are also placed at such a low height that they are easily blocked by passing vehicles. Because the ticketing program is not authorized by state law, neither are the warning signs required. If the program were authorized, the signs by law would have to be posted at a seven-foot height.
"In other words, if these were real signs, rather than just a PR sham, the signs would be illegal -- even without the cones blocking them," Akron Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer wrote.
Dyer noted that a police spokesman promised to ask Nestor to move the cones.
The Ohio Supreme Court, however, could order the city to shut down the program entirely. Akron attorney Warner Mendenhall argued last September before the high court that municipalities do not have the authority to create "civil penalties" to sidestep the constitutional protections that would thwart automated ticketing efforts. The decision on the case could come at any time.