Ohio Red-Light Camera Saga Continues With Latest Supreme Court Ruling

Red-Light camera opponents were dealt a blow today with Ohio Supreme Court's ruling in Dayton v. State 2017-OHIO-6909. The ruling struck down three key provisions of  a 2015 law limiting the use of the cameras. Writing for the majority, Judge Patrick F. Fischer held that ORC sections 4511.093(B)(1), 4511.0912, and  4511.095 were unconstitutional. These sections mandated that:

  • A law enforcement officer be present at the traffic camera location
  • Municipalities are prohibited from issuing fines unless the driver goes six miles over the speed limit in a school zone or ten miles over the speed limit in other areas.
  • A safety study and public information campaign must be performed before the use of the camera.

The Justices based their decision on the home rule test in 2002's Canton v. State. The concept of "home rule" is set forth in the Ohio Constitution. Under this section, a municipality can make certain regulations as long as they do not conflict with "general laws."  Canton offers a four part test to decide what constitutes a general law. Under Canton, "To constitute a general law for purposes of home-rule analysis, a statute must (1) be part of a statewide and comprehensive legislative enactment, (2) apply to all parts of the state alike and operate uniformly throughout the state, (3) set forth police, sanitary, or similar regulations, rather than purport only to grant or limit legislative power of a municipal corporation to set forth police, sanitary, or similar regulations, and (4) prescribe a rule of conduct upon citizens generally."

So where do we go from here? This ruling only affects three provisions of the 2015 law. According the Dayton Daily News, legislators are already looking to introduce new legislation. Barbara Doseck, Dayton's Law Director, said that the city will conduct an assessment and determine the best way forward.