Gov. Joe Manchin has signed a bill into law prohibiting cities
in West Virginia from using automated cameras to ticket drivers.
The new law, previously HB4004, won widespread support in
the state Legislature.
The cameras snap pictures of red-light runners or speeders.
A ticket is mailed to the vehicles’ owners, regardless who was driving at the
Supporters say the equipment acts as a deterrent and helps
snare red-light-running drivers who otherwise might not get caught. But others
question the effectiveness of such cameras, arguing they have the potential to
distract drivers and cause more accidents.
In fact, a study paid for by the U.S. Department of
Transportation showed rear-end crashes actually increased in cities with
red-light cameras, as motorists stopped abruptly at yellow lights.
Delegate Randy Swartzmiller, D-Hancock, said he sponsored
the measure because of a dispute about traffic cameras in neighboring Steubenville , OH.
A court ruled in March the traffic camera citations Steubenville sent to thousands of drivers, which include some West Virginia residents, are
Ohio Court of Common Pleas Judge David Henderson struck down
the speed camera ordinance because the cameras’ maker and the city didn’t
notify drivers of the ordinance prior to cameras being posted, The
Associated Press reported.
The Ohio city has been ordered to refund the fines – at $85
each – that have already been paid on 3,000 invalid tickets. Steubenville and
the cameras’ manufacturer, Traffipax, are expected to file an appeal, which
will delay the refund of the ticket money, The Intelligencer in Wheeling reported.
Steubenville Councilwoman Debbie Welsch told The AP the city would head back to the drawing board to bring the ordinance into
compliance and reimplement the cameras.