Ohio House Approves More Restrictions on Traffic Camera Use; Senate and Governor Likely To Follow Suit

trafficcameraPlenty of drivers in states across the country are familiar with the dreaded red light traffic cameras; plenty of state legislatures have already banned the cameras, due to an outpouring of criticism that the cameras are more effective for generating money, via traffic tickets, than for creating safer roads.

On December 11, Ohio state politicians agreed with citizens, in a 58-31 House vote, that merely placing traffic cameras at intersections is ineffective and potentially unlawful. After passing the House vote, the bill restricting traffic lights will go through the Senate (where it’s expected to pass), and then will be signed into law by state Governor John Kasich.

Specifically, this bill states that any police station using traffic cameras would be required to place an officer at every intersection where a camera is located.

The bill neither expressly prohibits nor endorses the use of traffic cameras, but it isn’t surprising that multiple police stations throughout the state have noted that it would be “financially impossible” to continue using the cameras, according to Jim Siegel, writing for the Columbus Dispatch.

Currently, according to a December 2014 map created by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Ohio is one of 14 states where traffic cameras can be used to issue traffic tickets for speeding and for running red lights. Nine states allow intersection cameras to issue red light tickets — but not speeding tickets — and the majority of states don’t permit the use of traffic cameras for either red light or speeding tickets.

According to TIME magazine, the number of individual communities across the country that use traffic cameras has dropped considerably, from 540 communities in 2012 (the peak of traffic camera usage) to 495 in December, 2014.

Certain states only approve the use of cameras in special areas, such as construction zones and school zones, but as more instances of traffic camera misuse are uncovered, state legislatures find themselves either increasing restrictions on traffic camera use, or prohibiting their use altogether.

“The general consensus is that these traffic cameras are a pain, and it is difficult to determine whether or not the driver way truly violating a traffic law,” says Allen Shaldo, Case Manager at Mr. Ticket. “California used to be very strict when it came to giving out tickets from traffic cameras, but now they are a lot more lenient and have even decreased the fines.”