Ohio judge rules speed cameras a ‘scam’

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Anne Hobson Contributor
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A Hamilton County, Ohio judge condemned an ordinance that would allow Elmwood Place, a suburb of Cincinnati, to install speed cameras.  The judge characterized the the speed cameras as unfair, invalid and unenforceable, according to USA Today.

In his decision last week, Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman wrote, “It’s a scam the motorist cannot win.”

Officials say the purpose of the speed cameras is to deter speeders. Critics argue that the government installed the cameras for revenue enhancement rather than public safety concerns. The cameras have brought in $1.5 million in fines, roughly half of which become revenue for the village.

Elmwood Place village hired Optotraffic LLC, a Maryland-based company, to install cameras and bill offenders. Motorists reacted angrily to receiving the $105 speeding tickets. Because many drivers changed their route to avoid the village, local businesses reported losses.

Ohio does not have a state law or program governing speed cameras. Thirteen jurisdictions in Ohio use speed cameras, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

While 13 states as well as the District of Columbia have speed cameras currently operating, 12 states have passed laws that prohibit the cameras.

Ruehlman’s ruling may be the first in the nation to address the concern of whether speed cameras violate a driver’s due-process rights.

The judge said that “the entire case against the motorist is stacked because the speed monitoring device is calibrated and controlled by Optotraffic.”

The village also didn’t adhere to rules mandating that proper signage accompany the cameras.

In order to challenge the tickets, drivers had to request an administrative hearing that came with a $25 fee.

While the judge has issued a ruling against the speed camera ordinance, the village will likely appeal the case.

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Anne Hobson