New Miami rolling out hand-held speed cameras

New Miami will implement a new speed enforcement program next week in an effort to reduce the number of speeding vehicles, according to a news release from Village Attorney Dennis Adams.

The police department will begin using new LIDAR technology that features a camera mounted to a hand-held radar device. Full-time police officers in the village will use these new devices to monitor traffic and catch speed limit violators.

As stated in the Ohio Revised Code, a local authority has the ability to use traffic law photo monitoring if an officer is present and personally witnesses the violation. New Miami’s LIDAR program meets this requirement since a full-time officer will witness, capture, review and issue the citations, village officials say.

The village council voted to approve the program on Dec. 3, allowing the police department to utilize the technology. The units will allow an officer to capture a photo of the violation, and after later approval by a supervisor, issue the citation by mail. The officer still has the authority to conduct a traffic stop and issue a uniform citation, however, if the camera captures the violation, the citation will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle, with fines to start at $95.00, village officials say.

A major advantage to the civil violation is that points will not be accessed to the driver, nor will it be reported to the driver’s insurance as with a uniform traffic citation, Adams said.

The program will begin Dec. 28, with a 30-day warning period. Citations issued during this period will not include a fine, but rather serve as notice that the program is underway.

Police Chief Dan Gilbert said officers will also use the warning period as time to train using the equipment.

Beginning Feb. 1, New Miami will begin issuing citations under the program. Individuals who receive a citation under the new program will have 30 days to pay the fine by mail, Internet or by phone, or request an administrative hearing to contest the citation.

Unless contested, failure to pay the violation will result in the citations to be sent to collections. Registered owners of the violating vehicles may attend an administrative hearing as authorized by Ohio law to contest the charge.

Programs of this kind are being implemented in multiple cities throughout the nation. Studies from the National Highway Safety Administration and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association consistently show that programs of this nature reduce the number of crashes, injuries, fatalities, and crime.

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