CLEVELAND – Traffic enforcement cameras: are they illegal or not?

Many people are still confused since the rules have changed multiple times -- as if traffic cameras aren’t already frustrating enough.

Police in Washington, D.C. are looking for a person who vandalized a traffic enforcement camera, the entire incident caught on camera.

So, what exactly are the rules in Ohio?

Traffic enforcement cameras are legal in our state. They always have been. But in 2015, legislators outlawed enforcement of those cameras if the pictures were taken without an officer being present. Many cities abandoned traffic enforcement cameras at that point – deciding the required manpower wasn’t worthwhile.

But in July, a supreme court decision ruled that parts of the traffic cam restrictions were unconstitutional – in particular, the section that required an officer, among others.

With that 5-2 ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court, traffic cameras could be operated again without officers keeping an eye on things.

So what cities operate cameras right now?

Linndale and Newburgh Heights are two villages that still operate traffic enforcement cameras. Cities include East Cleveland, Parma, and Akron. However, Parma and Akron only operate speed cameras in school zones.

Cleveland voters decided against traffic enforcement cameras altogether in 2014. Changes to state law likely won’t change that.

State Representatives have introduced new legislation, House Bill 410, that will attempt to curb the abuse facilitated by traffic enforcement cameras as they’re known to be “money-grabs.” The bill is cosponsored by local state representative Thomas Patton.

The bill would require camera tickets to be handled by municipal courts and would reduce the amount of money that cities and villages receive from violators. But the bill hasn’t hit the Statehouse floor for vote yet.

Even then, traffic enforcement cameras would still be legal.

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