Traffic cameras returning to Dayton

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Traffic cameras returning to Dayton

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The city of Dayton is looking at reinstating its traffic camera program, which it discontinued because of stringent state requirements. These red light cameras at the intersection of West Third Street and Edwin C. Moses Boulevard in Dayton record data but do not issue fines. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The city of Dayton is rebooting its traffic camera program after a two-year hiatus, and officials have revealed where its 10 fixed red light and speed-detection cameras will be installed.

Redlight cameras will be operated at West Third Street and James H. McGee Boulevard and at Linden Avenue and Smithville Road.

Speed-detection cameras will be used at North Gettysburg Avenue near Fairbanks Avenue; North Main Street near Siebenthaler Avenue; and Keowee Street between East Third and Fourth streets.

City officials say Dayton’s streets will become safer once the cameras are operational because motorists will be forced to either slow down or pay the price.

The city saw a 40 percent increase in property and injury crashes between 2014 and 2016, which officials mainly attribute to the loss of automated traffic cameras.

“We do know for a fact that this does change driving behavior, and we are looking forward to seeing a very dramatic decrease in traffic violations, which lead to pedestrian injuries and other traffic crashes,” said Dayton police Lt. Col. Matt Carper.

On Wednesday, Dayton city commissioners approved a contract with Optotraffic LLC to provide fixed red light and speed cameras and portable and hand-held devices. The city is paying about $133,400 for the equipment and projects to receive about $533,000 in annual revenue from its photo-enforced camera program.

The city’s traffic cameras went dark in July 2015 after state lawmakers imposed tough new restrictions on use of automated speed-detection and red light cameras. The city had used cameras to enforce traffic laws since 2003.

The city is challenging the state law, mainly on the grounds that it violates home rule, in a case that is being considered by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The city’s traffic camera program will comply with state law by having a police officer present while the devices are in use and recording motorists’ information to issue citations, Carper said.

The city analyzed three years of crash data to identify the top crash locations where the cameras will be placed, Carper said.

Traffic fatalities jumped up by about 82 percent between 2014 and 2016, and injury crashes increased by 420 to 1,425 incidents, city data show.

“We’ve chosen the locations of fixed camera sites based on high-crash data,” said Dayton police Detective Jason Ward.

The cameras are expected to become operational within the next two months. During the first month they are operational, motorists will receive warning notices in the mail instead of actual fines, as required by law.

Dayton police also will use handheld and mobile trailer cameras to cite speeding motorists. The police department will select where to deploy the equipment based on crash trends and citizen and police officer complaints, Ward said.

City officials say automated cameras are far more effective at reducing traffic crashes and promoting safe driving behaviors because they do not require an officer’s presence and are active 24 hours a day.

Officials say the city hopes to win its legal battle against the state so it can resume using a much more robust traffic-camera program.

But critics claim that traffic cameras are “money grabs” that are intended primarily to generate revenue.

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