Ohio Supreme Court strikes down traffic cam restrictions

Traffic cameras without police officers may be coming back

CLEVELAND - For more than 2 years, Ohio law required traffic cameras to be manned by a police officer.

Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled parts of that law are unconstitutional. In short, you may be seeing more red light and speed cameras popping up in cities near you.

As of March of 2015, Ohio legislators decided speed and red light traffic cameras WITHOUT an officer present were illegal. In Cleveland and across a lot of the state, they came down.

The ruling on parts of Senate Bill 342 means traffic cameras WITHOUT an officer present may be coming back.

"I think that's awful. I think police officers are paid to do a job not cameras that aren't reliable," said Pamela Smith of Cleveland at a gas station just off of I-71.

The Supreme Court in a 5-2 decision ruled the current law infringes on the legislative authority of local municipalities, without serving an overriding state interest.

State Representative Tom Patton, who sponsored the original legislation that banned traffic cameras without an officer present, told WKYC Channel 3 News that villages and townships like Linndale and Newburgh Heights are not included in the Supreme Court's decision.

They are still required to have a law enforcement officer be present at the location of a traffic camera. 

The ruling opens the gate for "chartered cities" like Cleveland, Patton said.

Pamela Smith isn’t even a fan of THAT, busted like so many on that little stretch of I-71 that is Linndale.

"They sit there and just wait for some sucker to come through there. It’s a trap,” says Smith.

A tiny little part of a few blocks of Linndale with a 25 MPH stretch on Memphis Ave near I-71 is also a hot topic for motorists.

“They got a little building here on that stretch in Linndale that they claim someone is in there but I never saw anyone in there," said another motorist from Cleveland who wanted to go only by Randy.

He added, “I think it's just to make money for these little small towns.  I think the people should have a say.  It should be voted on.  I would hope we get to vote on it."

In a statement from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's office, the acting Chief of Communications, Valerie McCall said, "The decision does not affect Cleveland's Charter restrictions on the use of traffic cameras approved by Cleveland's voters in November 2014." 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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