On The Beat: 9/12

They’re bacaaaaaak

Traffic cameras get the green light

By Jim Bucher

The famous of infamous on again, off again red light/speed cameras are once again back on in the City of Dayton.

You may recall the city shut down its photo-enforced traffic program in mid-2015 to comply with a new state law that put tough new restrictions on their use. Including stationing a real, live officer at each site to physically write you a citation.

Well, the city says, ‘Nah, baby nah’ and worked through some loop-holes to get them back up and snapping pix again of red light violators and speeders.

Mayor Nan Whaley says it’s proven when activated they cut down on accidents, etc. Critics say they’re cash cows for city coffers to the tune of millions of dollars in fines.

Here’s the stats compiled by the city. In 2013, police issued 47,940 speeding and 6,730 red-light violations recorded by the automated cameras.

The cameras were installed in 2002 and turned off in 2015 when struck down by the Ohio Legislature.

Soon five locations will be set-up with the ‘eye on drivers.’

Personally, I’ve been nailed by these suckers in the past. Both times just not paying attention. I paid my dues and did my part. Guess they’re okay, but as with breathalyzers and any type of equipment, there’s always the possibility for error. Would really appreciate a citation from the men and women in blue though.

Comments from our readers and on social media are all over the place.

Like former Dayton Police Major, Pat Walsh. “When they were previously placed in Dayton, they were at the 10 highest accident intersections across the city. Crashes reduced, including fatalities, saves injuries and lives, I’m for them. If it cost you money for blowing a red light, you deserve it.” He said.

Julie wrote, “It doesn’t bother me. I obey the law. Just do the speed limit and don’t run a red light and you won’t get a ticket.”

Peggy said, “I don’t drive around Dayton for various reasons but my thoughts are that if they are used not just for speeding but also to record any accidents that happen or crimes that are committed then that wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

That’s about it far as the pro comments I received, although the mayor said, ‘the citizens of Dayton tell us they want the cameras.’

Skip wrote, “What happened to due process? I’ll pay any ticket given by an officer… how do I know the unit is accurate? Big Brother already sees too much. Seems more about revenue than safety.”

“I don’t speed but I still feel it’s a load of crap and that it’s about money, we need a new mayor. Those tickets are issued through a camera seeing your car go through a light or speeding…who’s to say you were driving? Who’s to say the camera was accurate? If I can’t face my accuser in court then I would request the camera in question be tested, bet if enough people start doing that then they would stop or change how it works.” David said.

Kim has another take. “It’s about money, not safety. If it were about safety, they would put the time toward stopping the heroin business and yield more saved lives. There’s no money in that, though. Addicts don’t pay fines, only cost money. Cheaper to narcan, stand them on their feet and push them down the block.”

Jim is pretty adamant. “Funny how the first thing our wonderful mayor and commission said when they were banned was what are we going to do without that revenue? It’s all a sham. With all the new housing downtown and new business moving in they should be sitting fat and sassy on income tax money. Want revenue from speed traps? Put more cops on the streets. Reinstall a traffic division and make the community safer with a police presence. Cops writing tickets pay for themselves and no revenue going to outside companies.”

Mike’s take, “The problem with red light cameras is almost all the money goes to the camera company, NOT the city! The tickets issued are civil suits between the car owner & the camera company; they have nothing to do with your driving record. There’s no way to fight a red-light ticket in court, which should make them illegal! Who was actually driving the vehicle?”

Good point.

Liane’s two cents; “I think they make intersections more dangerous and I know that people start using side streets to avoid the intersection so it increases traffic on the surrounding streets–which aren’t really adapted to the increased traffic.”

Another good point.

Finally, Richard said, “Let the lawsuits begin.”

My guess is we haven’t heard the end of this one. For the foreseeable future, have your checkbooks handy.

Cheers!

Buch

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Jim Bucher
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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