Local state representatives sponsor bill prohibiting traffic enforcement cameras

ELMWOOD PLACE, Ohio - Legislation proposed late last month is calling for a ban on traffic enforcement cameras, such as the red-light and speed cameras that are littered throughout numerous municipalities in Ohio.

Introduced on Feb. 20, the bill is sponsored by Rep. Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, and is co-sponsored Rep. Dale Mallory, D-Cincinnati, among others. They believe the removal of "speed-trap" cameras is necessary and must be addressed immediately, according to a statement. There is no state law regulating traffic enforcement cameras.

"No local authority or the state highway patrol, utilizing either its own employees, those of another public entity, or those of a private entity, shall use a traffic law photo-monitoring device to determine compliance with, or to detect a violation," the bill reads.

The legislators have scheduled a press conference for Monday to publicly discuss the bill. This comes on the heels of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman's biting permanent injunction last week, which prohibited the further use of speed cameras in Elmwood Place.

Ruehlman granted the injunction citing there was a lack of due process for alleged violators.

In Ohio, there are at least 16 municipalities that use some kind of red light or speed camera, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In the United States, there are more than 650 municipalities operating either red-light or speed cameras.

If the $105 civil citation issued from Elmwood Place is not paid within 20 days, drivers are subject to "additional fees and penalties. These penalties include, but are not limited to, additional fees, collection actions, as well as booting and/or towing," according to Elmwood Place police.

In addition to Elmwood Place, two local communities, Hamilton and Middletown, use traffic enforcement cameras to some degree.

In Hamilton, officers have mounted a radar unit to an unmarked police car, which is positioned on the road in an attempt to catch traffic violators. The radar is the same used in patrol cars, said Sgt. Ed Buns, the traffic division supervisor.

There is only one vehicle in use in Hamilton and an officer calibrates the radar every day it's in use. The penalty is a $95 civil citation that is not reported to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. If not paid within 90 days, a collection agency retrieves the fine on behalf of the city and Redflex, which is the contracted vendor., Buns said.

Twelve states have passed legislation outlawing the use of speed enforcement cameras, while 29 states have no law on the books, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

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