Ohio Lawmakers Debate Future Of Red Light Cameras


UPDATED: Tuesday June 25, 2013 6:40 PM

We've all seen them, the speed and red light camera box at Ohio intersections.  

Now, Ohio lawmakers are debating making them a thing of the past.

"They're not accurate. They violate due process. You're presumed guilty instead of presumed innocent," said attorney Mike Allen. "There are so many constitutional and legal flaws with these things. That's why I got involved."

Allen led the effort in one southwestern Ohio village to have the cameras removed. He said the issue is not about safety.

"It's about revenue - pure and simple. And people ought to be up front and honest about that," said Allen.

In fact, major cities in Ohio generate millions of dollars from the traffic camera fines.

Just last year, Cleveland collected more than $6 million, Toledo $4.2 million, Dayton $4 million, and Columbus just over $2 million.

George Speaks from the Columbus Department of Public Safety said revenue is a secondary issue.

"The reason technology works is the old principal of negative reinforcement," said Speaks. "Folks are fined, and because they're fined, they're not going to do it again.  So you have to have a fine to modify the behavior."

Speaks said the cameras help make the roads safer by identifying drivers that speed through red lights, putting other drivers, and pedestrians, at risk.

"By banning the technology, accidents will increase, deaths, injury and property damage, I'm afraid, will increase," said Speaks.

Supporters of the cameras say they'll ask Gov. John Kasich to veto the ban if it reaches his desk.

As for all those cameras already in place, Allen admits local communities could suffer financially.

"I get that, but this is not a way to balance the budget. It's just not," said Allen.

The full Ohio House could vote to ban the red light cameras on Wednesday.

If the state Senate follows suit, and Kasich signs it into law, Ohio would become the 13th state to ban speed and red-light cameras.

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