Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Transportation Crime Government The Almighty Buck Technology

Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam 984

Hugh Pickens writes "The Columbus Dispatch reports that southwestern Ohio Judge Robert Ruehlman has ordered a halt to a speeding-ticket blitz in a village that installed traffic cameras saying it's 'a scam' against motorists and blasting the cameras and the thousands of $105 citations that resulted. 'Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-Card Monty,' Ruehlman wrote. 'It is a scam that motorists can't win.' The village began using the cameras in September, resulting in 6,600 speeding citations in the first month, triple the population of the village of 2,188. Optotraffic installed the Elmwood Place cameras and administered their use, in return for 40 percent of ticket revenue — which quickly topped $1 million. But business owners and motorists struck back, charging in a lawsuit that the cameras hurt the village's image and said they were put into use without following Ohio law for public notice on new ordinances. 'This is the first time that a judge has said, "Enough is enough,"' said plaintiffs' attorney, Mike Allen, who called the ruling a victory for the common people. 'I think this nationally is a turning point.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

Comments Filter:
  • That's a fair judge (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:17AM (#43136743)

    People learned to avoid this town and its $105 speeding tickets ($25 to appeal, you lose anyway), and business owners began to complain they were losing business due to the get rich quick scheme. Judge sounds like a good man.

  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:28AM (#43136837)

    I'm sorry but going 27-29 after you exit a 55 highway down a short ramp is NOT reckless driving, that's what the majority of the tickets this system issued were for and it's a crock. I don't even live in the area and I think it's a pure revenue grab. We had a little village near here that did the same sort of thing, nailing people for doing 2 over on the highway, the state legislature finally shut them down by raising the number of residents required to operate a mayors court.

  • Re:Not true. (Score:5, Informative)

    by fiziko ( 97143 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @08:49AM (#43137019) Homepage

    I thought they were speed cameras, not red light cameras. The question is not about lines, it's if they are set to go off when you are going 56 in a 55 zone, and so forth. If they do not allow for imperfections in speedometer readings, they will overticket the population. There is also a question of how many are mounted and where; if you drive down a main thoroughfare going 60 in a 55 zone and get three tickets for it in one day, that's an issue.

    Reading the first linked article, it sounds like they one had two cameras total, one where you enter the city and the limit drops from 35 to 25, and the other in a school zone. The town is a small town on an interstate that has a lot of through traffic to get from larger towns to major centres of employment. The city officials are confident this will hold up in appeals court, and I suspect they may be correct.

  • Re:Not true. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:01AM (#43137155)

    - You get somehow "caught" alledgedly committing a traffic offence. This may be that a speed camera photographed you speeding, or a traffic warden decided that you were parked illegally or whatever.

    You are conflating speeding tickets with parking tickets and, hence, deliberately mis-representing the issue in the UK.

    Obviously, for parking tickets you can appeal to the local council after they have been issued and have them cancelled. If your appeal fails, then no harm done - just pay the £30. I've done this and it relies on you collecting evidence to show you were not at fault (lines not painted correctly / visible etc...). Also, there are no points on your licence for parking tickets - stop lying about this. And there are no "courses" for parking offences.

    Much of what you wrote only applies to speeding tickets which are entirely different. You either don't drive or aren't from the UK.

  • Re:Not true. (Score:3, Informative)

    by drrilll ( 2593537 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:06AM (#43137211)

    From the article:

    "Police say up to 18,000 vehicles a day drive through the village, which links some big employers with I-75."

    The population of the town is somewhat immaterial. Also as someone noted earlier they are speed cameras, not red light cameras. To be honest, the article does not mention why they are considered a scam, although it gives some (in my opinion weak) arguments against them. I think their biggest concern is the impact on the local businesses from the people who drive through.

  • Re:Not true. (Score:5, Informative)

    by kelemvor4 ( 1980226 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:17AM (#43137353)

    The exotic situation is ice or snow on the street.

    Or water or sand or anything else other than street.

  • Re:Not true. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <.theshadow99. .at.> on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:30AM (#43137491)

    There is a light at an intersection in the middle of nowhere along my morning drive that has a 5 second green light, if you don't start going as soon as it turns green you won't make it through. That is without ice and snow, both of which make it harder to get going. It is quite possible at such a light to sit at it while it's red, have trouble getting started, and 'run the red' because you haven't cleared the intersection. God forbid you have people behind you who actually think they can make it.

  • Re:Not true. (Score:4, Informative)

    by rioki ( 1328185 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:33AM (#43137527) Homepage

    + in bad weather conditions don't drive so fast

  • Re:Not true. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Reverand Dave ( 1959652 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @09:59AM (#43137775)

    If a town was really interested in traffic safety they would install count down timers on traffic light intersections so an approaching driver can best gauge whether to brake in a reasonable time frame, brake firmly, or continue on.

    This is exactly correct. On the mornings when I drive my children to school I use the crosswalk timers to gauge when I can or cannot make it through a light. Traffic cameras have nothing to do with keeping people safe, they are all about lazily collecting fines from unfortunate drivers.

  • Re:Not true. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:05AM (#43137839)
    A lot of lights don't have a long enough yellow for you to stop braking soon enough to come to a safe stop in time in icy conditions - should we start braking for green just in case? or should we speed through to make sure we get through before it turns red instead?
  • Re:Not true. (Score:4, Informative)

    by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:12AM (#43137893) Journal
    You can see through the snow and know exactly where the line is?
  • by FileNotFound ( 85933 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:15AM (#43137937) Homepage Journal

    Nobody here is arguing that speed limit enforcement can be done fairly and uniformly. In the UK they use cameras that read license plates between several points, if the average speed exceeds the limit, you get a ticket.

    The problem is that the US system was never designed for 100% enforcement rate. This is why everyone does 90 in a 55 during rush hour. The cop that patrols that stretch can only pull over 1 guy every 30 minutes; hundreds of cars meanwhile speed through just fine. So on any given day your odds of getting pulled over are less than 1%, really I’d say about .025% at best.
    I cannot speak for every state, but in most, the cops/courts will happily give you a no points ticket that will not go on your record and will not affect your insurance. They just want to collect the fine. This creates the mentality of “Pay to play” and “Speeding Tax”.
    I ride a motorcycle, you can be certain that I am not doing the limit. I have never had points go on my license despite numerous encounters with police.
    Fact of the matter is that there are plenty of US roads that can be safely traveled at 100-120mph. Our speed limits are stupidly low and the keep right pass left law is completely unenforced resulting in a chaotic traffic pattern that does not allow for a well regulated traffic flow.
    Unfortunately with many police departments having no source of revenue beyond traffic violations and insurance companies gorging themselves silly on hiked up premiums due to speeding violations, the much needed change will never come. (Yes plenty of police departments do have other concerns, but I can think of 3 local townships of the top of my head where speeding enforcement is 100% all they do all day long.)

  • Re:Not true. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:17AM (#43137953) Homepage Journal
    Especially when the yellow is too short because the traffic camera company severely reduced their duration shortly after installing the cameras. That's what they did around here. 4 second yellows became 1 second yellows and suddenly people doing what they had always been doing were getting tickets. The worst part is that it made the roads less safe, because people slam on their brakes when they see the light go yellow when they're just about to enter the intersection and cause more rear-end collisions.
  • Re:Not true. (Score:5, Informative)

    by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:18AM (#43137959) Homepage Journal
    You should always be prepared to stop, but that's why we have yellow lights - to allow people to know when they should stop rather than proceed. I know the duration of lights in my home town, but when traveling there's no way I could know when to take my "foot off of the gas pedal", because I've never seen that light before. Are you seriously arguing that people should observe every signaled intersection for a full cycle before attempting to pass through it?
  • Re:Not true. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:34AM (#43138139)

    And the exotic answer is "No, REALLY start braking a bit earlier"

    And the actual response is "that's often not possible". And before you say "slow down" that can often create an even worse traffic hazard. Cops can use some common sense and choose to not issue a citation when the motorist is obviously already taking precautions and not driving too fast, but the camera cannot.
    But if you need a better example- Right on Red after Stop. 100% legal, but the camera will issue a ticket every time. Another example? Moving your vehicle to make room for for an emergency vehicle.

    When you get a ticket because your bumper went 2 inches over the white line that is siting under a couple inches of snowpack it's a waste of everybody's time and isn't making anything safer. Traffic laws are meant to ensure one thing- safety. They are NOT there to make money.

Think of your family tonight. Try to crawl home after the computer crashes.