(WJW) – A local lawmaker just introduced a sweeping plan that would shut down speed cameras, so the I-Team investigated.
Those traffic cameras are leading to so many tickets and millions of dollars in fines in Northeast Ohio alone.
Now, State Rep. Tom Patton has followed through on a pledge he made late last year to the I-Team.
He has proposed seven new laws that would turn off those cameras.
Patton said he doesn’t want towns using those cameras to get rich, so his proposals would make it very hard for police departments to send out camera tickets.
The cameras take photos of speeding drivers, then the drivers get tickets with big fines in the mail.
“I stress these bills are not intended to let people drive faster,” Patton said.
Patton comes from a law enforcement family. He argues speed cameras make money, but they don’t make roads safer since drivers don’t get tickets for weeks.
“The idea of getting a ticket in the mail 30-days later, what does that do for the people that were in the area? A police car parked on the side of the road makes everybody slow down,” he said.
For years, the I-Team has investigated the use of traffic cameras in Northeast Ohio.
Linndale and Newburgh Heights are the towns most notorious for the tickets, but others use the cameras, too. Mayfield Village just started doing it weeks ago during rush hours.
There’s a good chance you’ve seen an officer standing with a speed camera at Interstate 77 and Fleet Avenue in Newburgh Heights.
The I-Team checked and found the population there is less than 2000, but last year, speed cameras in Newburgh Heights spit out more than 59,000 tickets.
Under the new proposals, towns could not use speed cameras to make most of their money or have a cop sit with a camera on a highway ramp.
Newburgh Heights. Mayor Trevor Elkins issued a statement, saying, “Fewer than 1/10 of 1% of the motorists traveling through Newburgh Heights receive a citation for excessively speeding. The percentage of motorists violating the speed limit is infinitely greater than 1/10 of 1%. However, only motorists exceeding the speed limit by 14 mph on the Interstate and 10 mph on city streets receive a photo citation. Newburgh Heights has no further statement and will not be providing on camera comment.”
Meantime, Linndale Law Director Richard Neff called the new proposals, “all unconstitutional.”
Patton said he expects hearings on the bills he introduced to begin soon with lawmakers taking up debate.
Here is a look at each of the proposals:
- House Bill 547: Prohibit a municipal corporation or township that does not operate either a fire department or an emergency medical services organization from utilizing traffic law photo-monitoring devices.
- House Bill 548: Prohibit a local authority with a population of 200 or fewer from utilizing traffic law photo-monitoring devices.
- House Bill 549: Prohibit a local authority, in any year, from issuing a total number of traffic tickets based on the use of traffic law photo-monitoring devices that exceeds two times the population of the local authority.
- House Bill 550: Prohibit a local authority from deriving more than 30% of the total annual revenue of the local authority from the issuance of tickets for traffic law violations based on evidence recorded by traffic law photo-monitoring devices.
- House Bill 551: Require 80% of all revenue from a traffic camera ticket be used for law enforcement expenses.
- House Bill 552: Prohibit placement of a traffic camera within one-half mile of an interstate highway entrance.
- House Bill 553: Prohibit a local authority, located in a county with a population of one million or more, from using traffic cameras to enforce traffic violations on interstate highways.