Our View: Red-light cameras can be beneficial

DKS Editors

Red-light and speed cameras, which issue civil citations to the offending vehicle’s owner, have long been a topic of debate.

Though supporters say the intention is to increase safety, opponents say the cameras infringe on Ohioans’ right to due process. Others say they are all about generating revenue, not about safety.

A bill to ban them, except in school zones where an officer is present, passed the Ohio House in June with a bipartisan vote of 61-32. The Senate has yet to act on the bill.

We believe the cameras are unfair to drivers, presuming them to be guilty until proven innocent. It’s also highly concerning that the city and contractors can profit off of the cameras.

According to the Toledo Blade, several cities represented at a news conference earlier this month, including Toledo, Columbus and Springfield, insisted that cameras aren’t about revenue. If they were, the cities argued, they would install them at the busiest intersections instead of the most dangerous ones.

As much as no one wants that ticket, banning red-light cameras in their entirety might not be the solution. We would like to see standards enacted to make the cameras work for everyone.

Earlier this month, Sen. Kevin Bacon (R., Columbus) proposed legislation with what we feel are reasonable middle-ground solutions. First, the legislation would require police officers to approve each civil citation, according to the Toledo Blade. Making it less automated would make citizens feel more comfortable with the system. Second, according to the Toledo Blade, the legislation would require safety studies of intersections before cameras were installed. This seems like a smart requirement that we hope cities would do even without the legislation. Third, it would ensure that drivers have a way to challenge a citation, which we think is key to making red-light cameras fair.

Especially now that we’ve seen icy roads, whether someone is watching or not, slow down for those yellow lights and drive safely. The decision to “gun it” shouldn’t be based on who’s watching but based on what lives you’re putting at risk.

The above editorial is the

consensus opinion of the

Daily Kent Stater editorial board.