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New Ohio law targets controversial traffic camera tickets

A new law went into effect this week that requires a law enforcement officer to be present in order for traffic cameras to catch speeders.

Before the law, cities and villages began using traffic cameras alone to catch speeders and then issued speeding tickets to them by mail.

Unsuspecting drivers were very angry over the programs because they would receive a speeding ticket without ever having any contact with a police officer.

In fact, it was reported that many drivers filed lawsuits against cities and villages that used the old traffic camera programs, and two successful lawsuits in Elmwood Place and New Miami got the programs eliminated (though appeals are pending).

In the case against the village of Elmwood Place, evidence was presented that the village solved its money problems by issuing 20,000 speeding tickets between Sept. 1, 2012, and March 7, 2013, that raised $1.8 million.

Cameras simply recorded the speed of vehicles passing by and took photos of license plates. If a speeder was detected, a $105 ticket was mailed to the car owner’s home.

A Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge likened the program to a "scam" on drivers in the community and wrote that perhaps 10,000 of tickets that were issued may be eligible for a refund.

While small jurisdictions claimed that the programs were being used to simply deter speeding, many believed that revenue generation was the true motivation, which is largely why lawmakers put the new law into effect.

A few cities and villages have said that they might not be able to use the traffic camera programs anymore because they don’t have enough funding or manpower to place officers at the cameras in order for tickets to be issued under the new law.

Even seemingly minor traffic offenses like speeding tickets can add up to major consequences, such as losing your driving privileges and high insurance costs, which is why it is important to take all traffic violations seriously.

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