A bill that would significantly limit municipal use of traffic cameras for enforcing speed laws and red light violations in Ohio was sent to the state House of Representatives for a vote on Tuesday. The bill may or may not make its way through the General Assembly before lawmakers break for the summer.
Originally, the bill was meant to ban use of traffic cameras completely. Before it left the House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, however, an amendment was made to allow continued use of the cameras in school zones, where safety is a primary concern. The amendment also stipulated that signs must be present alerting drivers to the cameras, and a police officer must be on-site to monitor the equipment.
Opponents of the cameras contend that communities are using them largely as revenue generators via fines leveled to those caught speeding or running red lights. For example, in Elmwood Place, Ohio—a town of 2,100—cameras levied $1.5 million in fines on 20,000 speeders over a two-week period in 2012.
Supporters argue that the cameras do improve safety. Columbus’s deputy public safety director cited numbers showing that cameras helped reduce right-angle crashes by 74% and rear-end crashes by 25%.