Fiscal Note & Local Impact Statement

126 th General Assembly of Ohio

Ohio Legislative Service Commission

77 South High Street, 9th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-6136 Phone: (614) 466-3615

Internet Web Site: http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/

BILL:

Am. Sub. H.B. 56

DATE:

October 3, 2005

STATUS:

As Passed by the House

SPONSOR:

Rep. Raussen

LOCAL IMPACT STATEMENT REQUIRED:

Yes

 

 


CONTENTS:

Allows the use of a traffic law photo-monitoring device to detect traffic law violations only if a law enforcement officer is present at the location of the device and issues tickets at the time and location of the violations and requires the time period during which traffic control signals display yellow lights or yellow arrows to conform with the applicable provisions of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices

 

State Fiscal Highlights

 

        No apparent effect on state revenues or expenditures.

Local Fiscal Highlights

 

Local GOVERNMENT

FY 2006

FY 2007

FUTURE YEARS

Cities of Dayton and Toledo

Revenues

Potential loss of up to $200,000 or more, depending on the number of cited violations

Potential loss of up to $200,000 or more, depending on the number of cited violations

Potential loss of up to $200,000 or more,

depending on the number of cited violations

Expenditures

Uncertain effect

Uncertain effect

Uncertain effect

Counties, Municipalities, and Townships generally

Revenues

Potential loss, magnitude dependent on the number of cited violations

Potential loss, magnitude dependent on the number of cited violations

Potential loss, magnitude dependent on the number of cited violations

Expenditures

Potential effect uncertain

Potential effect uncertain

Potential effect uncertain

Note: For most local governments, the fiscal year is the calendar year. The school district fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.

 

        Dayton and Toledo revenues. The cities of Dayton and Toledo already have traffic law photo-monitoring devices in place in select areas within their respective jurisdictions. In 2004, the City of Toledo collected approximately $280,000 in automated enforcement revenues. In 2003, the City of Dayton collected approximately $175,000 in automated enforcement revenues. Presumably, subsequent to the bill's enactment, unless certain conditions are met, the cities of Dayton and Toledo will be prohibited from using any such automated enforcement devices or systems, and as a result, may no longer collect any of the related revenues.

        Dayton and Toledo expenditures. Based on the available research, the effect on local law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel of limiting the circumstances in which traffic law photo-monitoring devices may be used seems uncertain. Thus, in the case of the cities of Dayton and Toledo, the effect on law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel is also uncertain.

        County, municipal, and township revenues generally. As noted, the bill limits the circumstances in which county, municipal, and township law enforcement agencies are permitted to use traffic law photo-monitoring devices. Presumably then, any such jurisdiction that might have opted to utilize such devices in the future absent the proposed limitation, could thus lose the opportunity to generate the related revenue from certain traffic law violations.

        County, municipal, and township expenditures generally. Based on the available research, the fiscal effect on local law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel of permitting or prohibiting the use of traffic law photo-monitoring devices to detect violations of traffic laws is uncertain.

 


 


 

 

Detailed Fiscal Analysis

 

Overview

 

For the purposes of this fiscal analysis, the bill most notably:

 

        Allows law enforcement agencies to use a traffic law photo-monitoring device to detect traffic law violations only if a law enforcement officer is present at the location of such a device and issues tickets at the time and location of the violation(s).

        Requires that the time period during which traffic control signals display yellow lights or yellow arrows conform to the applicable provisions of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

 

Photo-monitoring devices

 

Background

 

According to a 2004 National Conference on State Legislatures' (NCSL) article, in 1990, there was no jurisdiction in the United States using photo radar to enforce traffic laws. Currently, more than 90 cities and towns throughout the country use automated enforcement in some way, including the cities of Dayton and Toledo in Ohio. In addition to increasing revenues, local authorities have used automated enforcement in an effort to curb intersection crashes.

 

On the matter of traffic safety, as of this writing, it does not appear that there is a clear consensus in the research community as to the effect of using photo radar, or red light cameras (RLCs), on traffic safety. While some research suggests that RLCs reduce intersection crashes, other studies show that red light crashes do not actually decrease; rather there are different kinds of crashes that actually increase (e.g., rear end crashes).[1] In Table 1 below, LSC fiscal staff has assembled a selective summary of the general conclusions from three documents that address the issue of RLCs and intersection crashes. This clearly does not constitute a comprehensive review of the available literature on this subject.

 

Based on the available research, the effect of the proposed limitation on local law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel seems uncertain. Legislative Service Commission fiscal staff is not in a position to render a decision either way on this traffic safety debate. Thus, from LSC fiscal staff's perspective, in the case of Ohio, the fiscal effect on local law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel of permitting or prohibiting the use of traffic law photo-monitoring devices to detect violations of traffic laws is uncertain.


 

Table 1

Selective Summary of Research on Red Light Camera (RLC) Traffic Safety Effects

Document

RLC Crash Effect Conclusions

Automated Traffic Enforcement (NCSL, Melissa Savage, April 2004)

RLCs have been shown to reduce red light violations as well as crashes.

 

Through the use of automated enforcement, cities and communities are able to enforce traffic laws without diverting law enforcement resources from other areas.

A Detailed Investigation of Crash Risk Reduction Resulting From Red Light Cameras in Small Urban Areas (Mark L. Burkey and Kofi Obeng, July 2004)

The results do not support the conventional wisdom expressed in recent literature and popular press that red light cameras reduce accidents.

 

At a minimum, we can say that there is no evidence that the RLC program is decreasing accidents.

 

Additionally, the data shows that the sites with RLCs are not benefiting from the overall decreasing trend in accidents in Greensboro.

 

There appears to be an increase in most types of accidents that correlates with the placement of a RLC at an intersection.

An Evaluation of Red Light Camera Enforcement Programs in Virginia (Virginia Transportation Research Council, 2002)

An operational analysis based on violations and crashes shows a potential but not definitive safety improvement.

 

The cameras clearly affect driver behavior: across the 23 intersections where reliable citation data could be obtained, citations decreased by an average of 21 percent per intersection.

 

Further the data show that the cameras are correlated with a definite decrease in crashes that are directly attributable to red light running, a definite increase in rear-end crashes, a possible decrease in angle crashes, a net decrease in injury crashes attributable to red light running, and an increase in total injury crashes.

 

More time is needed to determine whether the severity of the eliminated red light running crashes was greater than that of the induced rear-end crashes.

 

State fiscal effects

 

As violations detected by photo-monitoring devices are not criminal convictions, do not go on the owner's driving record, and no points are issued,[2] the bill would appear to have no discernible effect on state revenues and expenditures.

 

Local fiscal effects

 

Cities of Dayton and Toledo. The cities of Dayton and Toledo already have photo-monitoring devices in place in select areas within their respective jurisdictions. In conversations with law enforcement personnel in each of these jurisdictions, LSC fiscal staff learned the following:

 

        A contractor operates the automated enforcement systems in both cities, with each city receiving a specified percentage of the revenue generated.

        In 2004, The City of Toledo collected approximately $280,000 in automated enforcement revenues.

        In 2003, the City of Dayton collected approximately $175,000 in automated enforcement revenues, and also reported that total accidents at red light enforcement intersections during a roughly similar period of time decreased by 24%.

 

Presumably, subsequent to the bill's enactment, unless their current practices were modified, the cities of Dayton and Toledo would be prohibited from using any such automated enforcement devices or systems, and as a result, may no longer collect any of the related revenues. As previously noted, the fiscal effect on local law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel of permitting or prohibiting the use of traffic law photo-monitoring devices to detect violations of traffic laws is uncertain. Thus, in the case of the cities of Dayton and Toledo, the effect on law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel is also uncertain.

 

Counties, municipalities, and townships generally. The bill generally prohibits county, municipal, and township law enforcement agencies from using traffic law photo-monitoring devices unless certain conditions are met. Presumably then, any such jurisdiction that might have opted to utilize such devices in the future absent the proposed limitation could lose the opportunity to generate the related revenue from certain traffic law violations. As previously noted, the fiscal effect on local law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel of permitting or prohibiting the use of traffic law photo-monitoring devices to detect violations of traffic laws is uncertain.

 

Yellow traffic lights

 

Pursuant to section 4511.09 of the Revised Code, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) developed the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices to establish standards for the use of traffic control devices by ODOT and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions within the state of Ohio. With regard to yellow change intervals, this Manual recommends, but does not require, that the duration of such an interval be "approximately 3 to 6 seconds." The bill would specifically require that state and local authorities conform to this yellow change interval provision. As of this writing, LSC fiscal staff has not gathered any information suggesting that this provision of the bill will generate any noticeable fiscal effects for the state or any of its political subdivisions.

 

 

 

LSC fiscal staff: Sara D. Anderson, Budget Analyst

 

HB0056HP.doc/lb



[1] Burkey, Mark L., Ph.D. and Kofi Obeng, Ph.D. A Detailed Investigation of Crash Risk Reduction Resulting From Red Light Cameras in Small Urban Areas, Transportation Institute at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, July 2004.

[2] Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, May 2004.