DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The City of Dayton has filed a lawsuit against the State of Ohio regarding provisions that would take local government funds away, dollar for dollar, for money raised from red light and speed camera fines.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday.
According to a complaint filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, city officials argue House Bill 62 is unconstitutional and limits the ability to use photo enforcement to help keep streets safe.
“The city basically filed this to enjoin the state from enforcing the provisions of House Bill 62,” said John Musto, chief trial counsel for the City of Dayton, “Basically, those provisions place restrictions and limitations on our ability to use photo enforcement, and photo enforcement is proven to dramatically reduce accidents and injuries at locations where the cameras are located.”
The city argues the red light and speed cameras are making a difference. According to Musto, crashes have dropped 45 percent where red light cameras were placed, and crashes have dropped 30 percent where speed cameras were installed.
“They have been proven to increase safety, reduce accidents, reduce injuries and then also to help us to better allocate police resources,” Musto said.
House Bill 62 takes away state funding from cities that use red light and speed cameras based on how much money they earn from violations. The law also requires appeals of tickets to be heard in court instead of by an administrative officer and bans the cameras from being used on interstate highways.
But some state lawmakers are against the city’s lawsuit, arguing the city is just using the cameras to make money. Rep. Niraj Antani released a statement regarding the lawsuit, saying:
The lawsuit shows that the city is not using the red light cameras for safety as they assert, but rather to police for profit. This shameful legal proceeding will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars, just so the city of Dayton can try to continue to police for profit.
Rep. Antani told 2 NEWS he has previously co-sponsored other versions of House Bill 62.
“This law very simply says you can’t profit off of citizens, that every dollar you take from a citizen for red light cameras is one less dollar you’re going to get from the state of Ohio,” Rep. Antani said during a Skype interview from Columbus.
Musto denied the accusation that the city just wants to keep profiting from the cameras.
“It’s not a money grab,” Musto said. “The penalties stayed at $85 the entire time through the program. It’s never gone up. The city has shown time and time again that where these cameras are located, there’s a dramatic reduction in accidents and a dramatic reduction in the number of violations at those intersections.”
Musto pointed out similar legal action has been taken in Toledo and Akron. An injunction was granted in Toledo by the county’s common pleas court, but it was ruled it can only be applied in Toledo.
In the Miami Valley, Trotwood has also used red light cameras, but city officials announced earlier this month they suspended the program there due to the new law and ongoing litigation
You can find a copy of Dayton’s court filings below: