Ohio Court: No Traffic Stops Over Unpaid Parking Tickets

Privacy rights overcome revenue-seeking


Since April last year, Dayton, Ohio has been trying to generate millions in additional revenue by towing vehicles said to have unpaid photo enforcement or parking tickets. The city's policy instructed police to pull over motorists and taking their car away until the alleged debt was paid. To keep a steady stream of $85 citations, Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia operates ten red light cameras and ten speed cameras in Dayton.

"We have a substantial number of people who continue to ignore our traffic laws and flout the system," Police Chief Richard Biehl explained in a press release announcing the policy on April 9, 2012. "Unfortunately, we sometimes have to tow vehicles to get the driver's attention and cooperation."

In a decision late last month, the state Court of Appeals said Chief Biehl and the city have been flouting the Constitution. Three days before that press release was issued, Officer Jeff Hiber pulled over a car he saw on Salem Avenue because a license plate check claimed its driver had three unpaid parking tickets.