Ohio Town Refunds 980 Speed Camera Tickets For Only Driving 10mph Over The Limit (Versus 11mph)

from the go-speed-racer dept

A story suggest to us by reader Dan describes how an Ohio town recently issued 980 speeding ticket refunds. The city of Garfield Heights, Ohio, installed two speed cameras, attached to unmanned police cars, and then sent speeding tickets to those that were deemed to be speeding. The policy was to only issue tickets to those driving more than 11 miles per hour over the speed limit, so, when it was found that a number of tickets were issued to those driving 10 miles per hour over the limit, almost $100,000 in ticket revenue was refunded. Apparently, city officials had told the public that the tickets would be issued if people were caught driving 11 miles over the limit. So, if that's the case, then is the speed limit actually the speed limit or not? Once again, this goes to show how completely arbitrary speed limit enforcement can be. Is there really a difference in safety in going 10 mph over the speed limit vs. 11? And, if anything, it seems that widely circulating this policy would simply encourage people to drive 9 miles over the limit.

Clearly, it's a great money maker for the city. Since the month of June, when the cameras were installed, they sent out nearly 11,000 tickets, representing about $1,000,000 in added revenue. Sure, it's possible that the city may need to cover a shortfall in a budget, but is the false guise of public safety the appropriate manner in which to obtain this revenue? At least this method is a little more scientific than other Ohio towns, where a policeman can issue a ticket by simply guessing how fast you were going.

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  1. icon
    Montezuma (profile), 12 Oct 2010 @ 11:37pm

    I am not sure about Ohio law, but Georgia law(I am an ex-law enforcement officer) actually have a provision that restricts all but Georgia State Troopers from issuing ticket for exceeding the posted speed limit by 10 miles per hour, or less. Regardless, Georgia Troopers will(usually) not issue citations for anything at or under 10 MPH because it is a waste of time(there are no points assessed and, really, there are worse things to worry about on a roadway). Of course, there are caveats that comes with all that I am referring to.

    If the infraction occurs within a "School Safety Zone"(where the speed limit drops, usually on highways, but really everywhere) and "residential areas", which is completely ambiguous, as many homes in Georgia are littered along every road(including U.S Highways and major State routes), with the exception of Interstate Highways/"Freeways" and other "controlled access roads". The first agency I worked for(which was a county police department, and yes, I mean police and not sheriff(created through a county police act)) had a policy that we were not to issue citations for anything at or under 15 MPH, when the driver was not a hazard and when the violation was on a four-lane road. Essentially, it just become more convoluted and asinine, but that is Georgia law, "in a nutshell".

    Law enforcement has so much to worry with, that dinging drivers for anything at or below 10 MPH over the speed limit(depending on the area) is a total waste of manpower. I can think of, just off the top of my head, (quite literally) 300 different hazards on the roadways(and at least double that in incoming 911 calls) that I would be more concerned with. This does not mean that I never stopped someone for going less than 10 MPH over the speed limit(as any speed, in excess of the speed limit, is probable cause to initiate a stop), but I would do that if there was something more serious occurring and I could not quickly observe anything else that would suffice for probable cause.

    I mean, Georgia has a law that allows law enforcement to stop a vehicle for not having a light to illuminate a vehicle's rear tag. In the few years I worked street patrol, I got approximately 600 DUI, about half that number in other various traffic violations and misdemeanors, and exactly 22 felony stops. The law works.

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