Ohio speeding tickets could really cost you – no proof needed

Radar Gun

Ohio police officers are not required to have a radar gun to issue a speeding ticket. Image from Flickr.

Getting a speeding ticket is never fun – between fees, fines, and increased insurance costs, you’re looking at more than $400. In Ohio, however, the state that gives out the most speeding tickets, fighting that ticket just got a lot harder. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that “trained” officers can rely on visual estimates to hand out legally binding speeding tickets.

The Ohio speeding ticket court case

A 5 to 1 decision of the Ohio supreme court stated that officers do not need verifiable evidence to issue a speeding ticket. Instead, the officer only has to be “trained” in estimating speed. This means no radar gun, no laser measurement of speed, no paper trail to dispute – only your word against the officer’s. The supreme court of Ohio is quick to point out that this is not what they wish to see as policy, but what the constitution allows.

The financial reality of speeding tickets

Speeding tickets are often used by small towns for more than safety enforcement. Some cities make more than 30 percent of their budget from traffic enforcement. An average speeding ticket in the United States costs about $150, and increased insurance costs can run up to $300 over three years from just the first infraction. Some states — such as Florida — have even passed laws stating that cities are not allowed to make any more than 30 percent of their income from speeding tickets. Some states have even instituted systems where speeding tickets can be paid for on the spot with a credit card.

Reaction to the Ohio speeding ticket case

The Ohio speeding ticket case has garnered criticism from around the world. The ACLU has stated that this case will open up Ohio to possible racial profiling, stops for no reason and civil liberty violations. SB 280 has been introduced in the Ohio congress to address this concern. Senator Tim Grendell and Senator Capri Cafaro have introduced a bipartisan bill to require verifiable evidence for speeding tickets.

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