Legality questioned in use of Norton speed cameras

NORTON, Ohio -- All the leaves are brown, the sky is gray and construction season in our area is coming to a close, finally.  That includes the construction on Interstate 76 near Norton. The coming winter also means an end to about 55 days of traffic enforcement by the city of Norton using a manned speed camera.

The part time camera enforcement ended November 5, but not before Daniel got his ticket.

"That's my exit that I get off of, exit 14 and I'm pretty sure where they got me on the ticket is right around there where that speed zone is. That's the only part I'm on."

In fact Daniel, who didn't want his last name used, is one of about 9352 motorists who will pay more than $1.8 million in speeding fines.

In a letter on the city's police Facebook page the police chief said the enforcement zone has made the roadway safer.

Chief John Dalessandro said from January to September they were averaging 13 crashes a month and in the 55 days they used the camera there were only six crashes.

But, motorists are now questioning if the use of the camera fits into state law.

"Ultimately some judge would determine whether or not it meets the requirements of a class action," said Fairlawn attorney Kevin Breen.

Breen said with so many tickets issued in such a short time period, you have to question if Norton's use of the camera fits  state law.

Breen placed an ad in the Norton paper last Friday and since then he's receive well over 100 calls from people, including Daniel.

He said the ticket is just a fine without points on your license, so it doesn't matter if your'e doing 10 miles over the limit or 50 miles. Breen also added that the way the fines are issued and the way the program is administered all come into question.

"Are they consistent with the general laws of Ohio generally the home rule doctrine says that in certain instances municipalities cannot change state law of general application throughout the state?" Breen questioned.

Breen said they're still exploring this and there may not be any case all.

Meantime, Daniel said he'll probably pay his ticket but would love to see change.

"Honestly they keep saying it's about safety but really when they raise one point eight million dollars in what a couple of months doing it i can't see if just about safety there has to be a money factor there" Daniel said.

Norton city officials were not available for comment.

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