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4/4/2009
Chillicothe, Ohio Anti-Camera Petition Succeeds
Activists in Chillicothe, Ohio obtained more than double the number of signatures required to call a vote to ban red light and speed cameras.

Chillicothe photo by fusionpanda/flickrA third city in Ohio is poised to ban the use of photo enforcement. The Chillicothe group Citizens Against Photo Enforcement (CAPE) announced Thursday that it had submitted more than double the number of signatures required to give voters in November the choice of banning both speed cameras and red light cameras (view initiative text).

"CAPE is against the red light cameras because they are unsafe, they do not add safety to the city, they only add revenue and still to this day, we have illegal short yellows," CAPE President Rebekah Valentich explained.

Under Ohio Code Section 4511.094, which became law on September 12, 2008, it is illegal for any camera-equipped intersection to have a yellow time duration of less than 4.0 seconds. Similar to a new Georgia law, cities must add one second of yellow time to any intersection using a camera. CAPE members caught local officials using yellows with durations under four seconds after the law had passed at intersections such as Bridge and Main. After the city increased the yellow to 4 seconds at this location, the number of citations issued dropped nearly 90 percent. According to the group, several intersections remain undertimed.

Given the strong petition support and the history of similar efforts, prospects are favorable for the referendum. A similar initiative banned cameras in Cincinnati last year. In 2006, three out of every four voters in Steubenville chose to kick out speed cameras after the devices had issued $600,000 in citations. Over the past twelve years, voters in Anchorage, Alaska; Peoria, Arizona and Batavia, Illinois have also banned cameras.

Voters in Sulphur, Louisiana will decide in a special election today whether speed cameras should be banned from the city.




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