SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (March 30, 2010) – The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a U.S. District Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit that alleged traffic citations issued as part of a road safety program violated motorists’ constitutional rights. The lawsuit alleged the program is criminal in nature and violated due process rights – arguments which the court rejected. No. 09-3061 (6th Cir. March 29, 2010).
The legal challenge came after the plaintiff received a citation for speeding through a school zone in Akron, Ohio. Plaintiff availed herself of her right to an administrative hearing and won her request to dismiss the citation on the grounds that the speed limit signs had been damaged or vandalized at the time she drove through the school zone. Afterward, plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming that the city’s ordinance authorizing civil penalties for speeding captured by automated cameras is a violation of the U.S. Constitution due to its criminal nature, and a violation of due process protections. Both the district court and court of appeals disagreed.
The appeals court found the plaintiff’s due process rights were adequately protected. In its ruling, the court wrote, “We agree with the district court that the ordinance and its implementation, as detailed in the stipulations, satisfy due process.” The findings were issued in the majority opinion by Circuit Judges Ralph B. Guy, Jr. and Raymond M. Kethledge. Circuit Judge Eric L. Clay dissented. Without an appeal, the court’s ruling concludes a lawsuit that was originally filed against Nestor Traffic Systems, Inc., which was later purchased by American Traffic Solutions (“ATS”).
“This opinion further negates unfounded claims against camera based road safety programs and confirms the legality, constitutionality and safety benefits of photo traffic enforcement,” said George Hittner, general counsel of ATS. “Speed road safety programs successfully modify driver behavior by increasing compliance with traffic laws. These programs have been proven to improve traffic safety on the roadways by increasing voluntary compliance with posted speed limits, especially in school zones.”
As properly noted in the ruling, the court’s finding is consistent with the conclusions of other federal courts from around the country. In January 2009, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld constitutionality of road safety programs in Idris v. City of Chicago; in July 2009, Missouri’s Eastern District Court confirmed the constitutionality of such programs in Kilper, et al. v. City of Arnold, Missouri, et al; and, just last week, the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of an action that sought to require photo enforcement companies adhere to state private investigator licensure requirements.
ATS’ road safety solutions are specially designed to assist communities in their endeavor to advance road safety in school zones, on residential, town and urban roads, as well as on highways. ATS worked with outside counsel Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, L.L.P. to secure the court’s ruling.
About American Traffic Solutions:
As the company whose principals were the architects of the first road safety cameras in the United States in 1987, ATS is also the fastest growing provider in North America, serving more than 26 million people in more than 200 communities including: New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Houston, Seattle and San Diego. ATS also offers PlatePass®, an automated electronic toll payment service that enables rental vehicle customers to use high speed, cashless electronic toll lanes. ATS is a privately-owned, U.S. corporation headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. For more information, please visit: atsol.com or www.PlatePass.com
Contact: George Hittner
Phone: (480) 596-4704