3/1/2016Ohio Appeals Court Upholds Restrictions On Speed Cameras
Ohio Court of Appeals for the second time upholds legislative restrictions on red light cameras and speed cameras.
Renegade cities in Ohio are defying the relatively minor restrictions that the General Assembly placed on the use of automated ticketing machines one year ago. The state Court of Appeals on Friday declared that it was entirely constitutional for the legislature require police presence where photo ticketing devices are in use (view legislation).
Although the restrictions were inaccurately described as a "ban" on speed cameras last year, speed camera companies were ready with hand-held photo radar devices and other solutions that complied with the new law's provisions, allowing cities to continue collecting just as much citation revenue as before.
Other, more defiant cities like Springfield refused to make any changes at all in the way their private vendors operated. They filed suit to block enforcement, objecting to the new law's requirement that a safety study justify the use of a camera and the prohibition on ticketing vehicles allegedly traveling 5 MPH or less over the speed limit.
Springfield specifically filed suit to protect the red light camera program operated on its behalf by Redflex Traffic Systems, insisting that the legislative restrictions infringed on a right of local self governance -- a slightly different argument than the one Dayton offered in a case it lost in August (view decision). The three-judge appellate panel was not impressed by Springfield's argument against the law known as Amended Substitute Senate Bill Number 342.
"Upon review, we conclude that Springfield's traffic camera ordinance is clearly an exercise of its police power," Judge Mary E. Donovan wrote for the court. "In light of our previous holding in Dayton, we find no merit to Springfield's argument that Am.Sub.S.B. No. 342 is not a general law. Contrary to Springfield's assertions, Am.Sub.S.B. No. 342 was not enacted to limit municipal powers, and the statute constitutes a comprehensive, uniform, statewide regulatory scheme which clearly prescribes a rule of conduct upon citizens generally. Like the city of Dayton before it, Springfield has failed to meet its burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Am.Sub.S.B. No. 342 in any way offends the Ohio Constitution."
A copy of the new decision is available in an 80k PDF file at the source link below.