Ohio needs uniform traffic cam policy

Traffic cameras for speeding enforcement and traffic light enforcement continue to rear their little electronic heads around the state. The same basic issues about due process continue to rise, again and again, in court after court.

The latest is a case following the usual pattern. A driver challenges the ticket. Other drivers join in. A judge has ruled that the ticketed drivers could constitute an injured class and allows the lawsuit – this time against New Miami village – to proceed as a class-action lawsuit that could see refunds to ticketed drivers. More than $1 million in fines were collected in the year the cameras have been used in the village of 2,200 in Southwest Ohio.

Those in favor of the cameras say it’s a matter of public safety, not just generating revenue, and red light cameras have made motorists more caustious.

Still, there are appellate rulings going through the state court system from Toledo and Cleveland that ruled against the camera system. A case that made it to the Ohio Supreme Court saw the justices approve camera use in Akron.

It is far past time – nearly a decade – for Ohio to have a statewide policy about the traffic cameras.

Either municipalities have the right to tap into a cash cow that results from the robotic unblinking eye, or due process involving the normal court challenges that can occur must be established.

The problem is, there’s no human officer to challenge in court, and the camera isn’t about to answer any questions.