In his final act as Ohio governor, Bob Taft vetoed a bill
that would have imposed restrictions on the use of automated cameras at
intersections throughout the state. Officials in several cities called for the
Taft vetoed the bill Jan. 5 - two days before he left
office. The veto cannot be overridden because the Legislature that approved the
bill adjourned at the end of 2006.
The bill - HB56 - would have effectively banned cameras in
the state used to catch speeders, unless they are posted in active school zones
with flashing yellow lights.
It also would have allowed vehicle owners who receive
citations in the mail to avoid paying fines by signing affidavits that they
weren't driving at the time. Owners of vehicles wouldn't have been required to
identify who was behind the wheel.
A provision in the bill required cities to identify offending
drivers without using photographs from the cameras.
Mayors in Cleveland and Columbus said the bill violated
cities' rights to self govern, The
Associated Press reported. Taft shared the same concerns.
"I can discern no strong public policy that warrants this
sweeping preemption of local control over our local streets," Taft said in his
The bill also prohibited the use of portable cameras, as
well as ended the practice of paying camera vendors a portion of the fine
amount. Instead, vendors would have received flat-rate contracts.
Supporters said the changes would alleviate concerns that
the devices are being used primarily as a revenue generator for cities and
Raussen said studies have also indicated that the cameras do
not reduce accidents.
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 to avoid tickets.
The effort to ban traffic cameras can be brought back before
lawmakers for the session that began Jan. 2.