Ohio: Heath Jumps the Gun With Speed Camera Tickets

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Heath, 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.

The Newspaper
The Newspaper

More by The Newspaper

Join the conversation
2 of 6 comments
  • Durishin Durishin on Jul 29, 2009

    Americans do not want their right taken away!

  • Smokedbacon Smokedbacon on Aug 22, 2009

    This little hick spot has been nothing but a radar speed trap for at least the last 49 years. At one time this jerk place had one of the highest income verses population of any city in the US. Yea the machine said I Was doing 45MPH in a 35 MPH Zone that is a 4 lane state highway! Fine $100 but I get nailed twice I was in my car but having a CDL it goes against my CDL as well! So ok Heath you might get $100 but you will never see me in your rip off hole again! As a matter of fact your Indian Mound Mall might not like take a liking to losing business because of your little speed trap!

  • 28-Cars-Later Can we end debt slavery next? Its getting to the point where its no longer voluntary.
  • Carson D Honda and Toyota still make the best American cars.
  • Slavuta I just though, with this rate we could make Cinco De Mayo a national holiday as well. Since we have tens of millions of American Mexicans, and probably more than African Americans
  • Wjtinfwb Well, it LOOKS pretty great for 36 years old and 356k miles! I've seen plenty of 2 decade newer trucks that looked like a shrapnel bomb went off inside and and exterior that looked worse. This owner got everything out of that truck it had. Time to let it retire to the farm.
  • Wjtinfwb Stellantis. They've gone from Hero to Zero in 24 months with some really stupid decisions and allowing politicians to influence their business. They also hung onto old products way too long and relied on RAM and Jeep to pull them through. RAM plays in the most competitive market of all, full-size trucks and competition is brutal with Ford and GM keeping their foot to the floor on development and improvement. Chrysler now has one model, a 5 year old van. Dodge made a living off old cars with stupendous power, that's gone with the mothballing of the Hemi. The Hornet is an overpriced joke. Now they have new Durango Pursuit's self-destruction because of a plastic oil cooler that self destructs and dumps oil into the coolant lunching the engine. Grand Cherokee, a staple of Jeep has not been well received and has limited power options due to canning the Hemi. Now they've got to build interest around the Hurricane turbo in-line 6 in trucks, Charger's and Jeeps. If that engine turns out to be problematic its likely lights out in Sterling Heights.