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Ohio City Jumps the Gun with Speed Camera Tickets

July 29, 2009

Ohio City Jumps the Gun with Speed Camera Tickets
Heath, Ohio forced to refund $26,500 in speed camera tickets because Redflex mailed tickets before the program start date.  

Heath petition signingHeath, Ohio was so anxious to start collecting on its new speed camera program that it issued $26,500 worth of tickets before the program was officially supposed to begin. The city’s mayor, Richard J. Waugh, issued a statement Monday confirming that refunds would be automatic for each of the 265 vehicle owners mailed a ticket for alleged violations that took place on June 30. Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian company that actually runs the program, was not supposed to have begun issuing tickets until July 1.

Taking a 20 to 30 percent cut of each photo citation, Redflex had an incentive to get the system up and running swiftly. Armed with eight combination red light and speed cameras devices plus two photo radar units, Redflex had racked up 8,483 tickets worth $848,300 by July 21. By now the total has surpassed the level of one ticket for each of the city’s 8800 residents. While some would suggest that ticket writing at such a rate might upset residents, Mayor Waugh insisted that the cameras enjoy overwhelming public support.

“By a margin of more than two to one, 56 percent of respondents strongly agreed/agreed vs. 23 percent who strongly disagreed/disagreed,” Waugh wrote on the city website, citing a survey conducted in 2008.

Local activists do not buy that for a second. The Heath chapter of We Demand a Vote has already gathered a sufficient numbers of signatures to force a referendum on Waugh’s program this November. Petition organizer Becky Goodwin says the success of the petition is evidence of the unpopularity of the automated ticketing machines.

“We had no trouble getting the signatures,” Goodwin told TheNewspaper. “We only spent two weeks collecting names.”

Goodwin said Heath had set up traps with the most productive camera placed in such a way as to snare out-of-town visitors as they enter the city on route 79. The camera is difficult to see on a curve where the speed limit suddenly drops from 50 MPH to 35. She believes this has already had a negative impact on the city.

“Many businesses are seeing fewer customers in their stores and less traffic on 79 due to the cameras,” Goodwin said. “Customers have called and told businesses they will not be back unless the cameras come down. We believe the voters will come out and support the issue to ban the cameras.”

No photo enforcement program has ever survived a public vote.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa Ford permalink
    July 31, 2009 9:42 am

    I have received 3 speeding tickets (2 of which were 40 minutes apart, one coming into Heath and one leaving Heath). We have a cottage at Buckeye Lake and frequent Heath to shop and dine. We will never again return to Heath for any reason. It is a shame that all of the merchants are going to suffer because of a city putting in a speed trap. I had no idea it was 35 mph, I thought it was 50mph. I am in my late 50’s and have never received a speeding ticket and now in the course of 1 week I have 3. This is a travisty and makes your city look very bad!!!! I feel sorry for the citizens and merchants!!!! Shame on you.

  2. Upset and ready to fight permalink
    August 5, 2009 3:17 pm

    We’re out of town guests also. We just received our red light ticket in the mail today. We used to frequent the Heath area often, but after this, we will be avoiding the area. We’re home improvement contractors, and have spent tens of thousands there over the last few years…its a shame the businesses have to suffer because you have a city with lazy law enforcement and administrators who don’t listen to their constituents.

  3. John Doe permalink
    August 12, 2009 9:44 pm

    We visited Heath/Newark for the first time this summer to take the family to Cherry Valley Lodge. Loved the Lodge and had dinner and lunch in Heath. We just received a ticket from the “Photo” Nazi. I am very disturbed that this City and it’s resident’s allow there ELECTED officials to create such an unfriendly environment. We live in Ohio and love to visit other parts of the state. We had planned on a return trip, but after this we will never return to spend money in this town again.

  4. No going there again permalink
    August 31, 2009 3:49 pm

    I have a ticket from Heath and I have never been there. The ticket was issued to my vehicle. So how can I have a ticket and never have been to Heath? Well, I can say that I will never go to back to heath ( I will go to fight the ticket) for any reason.

  5. no cameras permalink
    October 5, 2009 2:30 pm

    well as the officials say at heath “we do what we want to line our pockets” well what they dont tell you is you can simply change the venue of the citations to newark ohio and if you lose newark gets part of the money also. but i really dont see how you can loose. let me start by saying this if this is supported by the attourny generals office then there is a lot that can be done to dismiss your tickets.what you do first is by changing venue step2 is to go to court and ask what officer was present at time of citation when they say none you say how do you know it wasnt the other vehicle that was going that speed. the answer is that law enforcement is trained that when using a radar unit you must observe the vehicle speeding to make sure you have the correct vehicle.radar units will track larger vehicles over yours (example if you are going the speed limit and a tractor trailor is next to you traviling at a higher rate it will take your pic and send you both tickets so they can double there income.)step 3
    if you feel like it you can request your photo to be sent to you and a copy of the log that day for the enforcement officer while it was on duty this falls under the public records act and as a government facility they must comply. you may also request that they send you a copy of the callibration checks inbetween each citation that is issued/recorded.(this again is something that the attourney gererals office has asked to be done to assure the accuracy of the officer and his radar unit) now with all this said if you follow these simple steps im sure that heath may want to drop your citation or go to newark courts and loose income that they dont need anyway. i am a former officer and this is the way i was trained and if they want to change the ways things are done they should let the public know. “this is why i am a former officer,govermental control.”


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