One Ohio lawmaker is on a crusade to do away with traffic cameras across the state, and especially in the small town of Linndale, described as “Northeast Ohio’s most notorious speed trap.”
“Speed cameras are not law enforcement. Speed cameras are not a public safety measure. Speed cameras are only a cash register for the cities or villages involved,” State Rep. Tom Patton (District 7) told WJKW. “I have four bills I am going to drop that deal with cities and the use of speed cameras.”
The town of Linndale has a population of just 160 people, but it collects $2.3 million from unwitting passers through each year. The town’s annual budget is $2.7 million, funded mostly by its cottage industry of speeding tickets.
It has 10 police officers on its payroll, and together they recorded 450 traffic cases through August of this year.
Patton says one of his bills is specifically aimed at the town of Linndale.
“Just to keep these guys in line. The one bill says no more than two tickets per resident. That’s one of the bills we are going to try and put forward,” Patton reportedly said.
He described one of the main streets in the town as a “cash register,” and says the 10 officer police force – one officer for every 16 residents – is “absurd.”
Traffic cameras are the subject of controversy in many states across the country, with critics often claiming they violate the United States Constitution.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “recent trends show fewer governments are operating red-light and speed cameras.”
In 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that red-light and speed cameras were unconstitutional.
Several states either prohibit red-light and speed cameras, or prohibit automated enforcement of traffic infractions caught by such cameras.
Those states include Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.
Some states have also banned red-light cameras or speed cameras, but not both.
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