Sep 20, 2007

red light cameras under fire in Ohio

This blogger is quite skeptical about the relative efficacy of red light cameras (click here and scroll to see skepticism in action). Most of my doubt is empirical: ticketing red-light runners might reduce some red-light running, but not as much as lengthening light times, and at the risk of increasing rear-end accidents and expanding the ever-bloated nanny state.

In Ohio, though, the cameras are under legal fire for creating a conflict between jurisdictions.
At issue before the Supreme Court is whether the city's use of civil fines for traffic infractions captured on camera lodged against the vehicle's owner and not the driver, violates state home-rule laws.

Stephen Fallis, a city of Akron assistant law director, told the justices that the local laws established with the traffic cameras are a complement to existing state laws and help ensure safety around schools and high-accident areas.

Akron attorneys Warner Mendenhall and Tony Dalayanis argued that the camera laws are in direct conflict with existing state statutes. They contend local governments are exceeding their authority by creating a branch of civil penalties attached to existing traffic laws.

They also said the civil penalties assessed by the city circumvent state laws that call for points being placed on a driver's license and fines being paid through local courts.

The argument of constitutional issues such as due process protections were not part of the arguments before the Supreme Court. That could come later.
The ruling is expected in about 3 months. Though Washington, to my knowledge, has no similar legal situation, let's hope the publicity of the Ohio case spurs citizens to ask tough questions of revenue-hungry municipalities.

[via Popular Mechanics via Instapundit]


Crown Home Inspection Solutions said...

Is there a ruling yet on this issue?

Mark from Cleveland

Jim Anderson said...

As far as I can tell from the Ohio Supreme Court's webpage, not yet. Check back in December, if the three-month prediction holds up.