The Ohio Supreme Court has struck down a law restricting camera traffic light tickets, so now residents are wondering how to beat them. It turns out, it isn’t that difficult if you don’t mind dinging your credit score.
In 2014, the Ohio Senate passed a bill requiring police officers to sit near traffic light cameras, review violations before writing tickets and limit speeding tickets to drivers who broke the law by at least 10 mph in general areas and at least 6 mph in school zones and parks. The bill became a law in March 2015, requiring cities to conduct traffic studies before mounting cameras and to post signs once the cameras were installed. In a 5-2 ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down this law in July 2017, leaving many Buckeyes wondering how to beat traffic light camera tickets. It turns out, it isn’t that difficult if you don’t mind debt collectors calling you.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
In Ohio, ignoring a traffic light camera ticket won't add points to your license or affect your ability to renew your plates or registration stickers, but cities have the right to send your ticket to a debt collector, and this may affect your credit score.
What Happens if You Don’t Pay a Camera Speeding Ticket in Ohio?
As eager as cities like Dayton are to reinstall the traffic light cameras, which were removed because the city couldn’t afford to post full-time police officers near them, not much happens if you refuse to pay a camera speeding ticket in Ohio. In 2013, a Toledo news station reported that only 70 percent of those who’d received a ticket from the city’s 44 cameras actually paid their fines. The other 30 percent may have gone to a collections company, but they didn’t accrue points on their license and they weren’t forced to appear in court.
Can My Insurance Company Raise My Rates Because of a Traffic Camera Ticket?
No. Car insurance companies are prohibited from using traffic camera tickets to set premiums.
Can I Fight a Camera Speeding Ticket?
Most people pay the fine they get from towns like Linndale, but they can also fight a camera speeding ticket by attending an administrative hearing that tends to work out in the driver’s favor. About 20 percent of tickets have been thrown out, and others have been reduced from $125 to as little as $25. The village can afford to be benevolent, though. Over the course of two years, it made more than $1.8 million on traffic camera tickets. Linndale keeps 60 percent of the fines, and its vendor takes the other 40 percent.
Are Traffic Camera Tickets Back for Good in Ohio?
Not necessarily. Many state representatives have vowed to get rid of them. Strongsville Rep. Tom Patton, for example, proposed a bill to get rid of traffic camera tickets in towns like Linndale, where approximately $800,000 of its $1 million budget came from tickets, and Newburgh Heights, which issues about three tickets per resident per month on its share of I-77. Senate President Larry Obhof of Medina said he was going to review the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling and take his time formulating a ban bill that it would support.
- Cleveland.com: How to Beat a Ticket in Linndale: Ignore It
- Cleveland.com: Ohio's Traffic Cameras Down, But Not Out Following New Restrictions
- Cleveland.com: Statewide traffic camera ban passes Ohio Senate
- Cleveland.com: Ohio bills would shut down traffic cameras in Linndale, Newburgh Heights
- Cleveland.com: Anti-traffic camera bill speeds past Ohio legislature
- NBC 24: Red light camera ticket. Don't pay, no problem?
- Cleveland.com: Linndale, the tiny village known for its highway speed trap, swears in a new mayor who must deal with a cash crunch: Michael K. McIntyre's Tipoff
- Cleveland.com: Hundreds of Linndale traffic-camera tickets forgiven, but don't get used to it: Michael K. McIntyre's Tipoff
- Dayton Daily News: Cities Can Turn Red Light Cameras Back on, Court Rules; State Threatens to Fight Back