COLUMBUS — Regulations for traffic cameras used to cite motorists for allegedly speeding or running red lights could be passed by the state Senate before the end of the year, the chamber’s leader said.
Senate President Keith Faber told reporters Wednesday night that many in his Republican majority believe there needs to be limits on the cameras. Members are still debating possible restrictions. Two Senate bills deal with the issue, though he declined how his members were leaning.
The House passed a bill last year that generally would ban the use of traffic cameras except within a school zone during certain times if a law enforcement officer is present.
Faber’s comments come as the Ohio Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments next week in a driver’s lawsuit against Toledo’s cameras.
Faber, a Celina Republican, said he believed most Ohioans had concerns about the cameras.
Cameras can be effective and efficient in certain circumstances, he said. “However, I think the public doesn’t have confidence and trust that they’re there for safety and not for revenue generation.”
The state Legislature started its summer break Thursday, with plans to return in the fall.
Supporters say traffic cameras helpfully stretch police resources and make drivers and communities safer. Most of Ohio’s largest cities use them, and the state Supreme Court upheld camera enforcement in the city of Akron in 2008.
Critics argue that they are mainly meant to raise money, and that they don’t give ticketed motorists a fair chance to challenge evidence, confront accusers, and have their day in court.
The cameras have spurred several lawsuits in the state.
New cases filed Wednesday charge that the automated enforcement systems in two Dayton suburbs violate motorists’ constitutional rights to due process and improperly bypass the court system.
The lawsuits were against the cities of Trotwood and West Carrollton, their heads of police, and Redflex Traffic Systems, a Phoenix, Arizona-based company that contracts with municipalities across the country to provide and operate traffic cameras.
Redflex said in an emailed statement Thursday that the company intends to defend it traffic safety camera programs, which it says are legal and consistent with Ohio law.