Ohio is the first state in the country to prohibit marriages in red-lit districts in a move that advocates say will allow couples to make decisions for themselves.
But some local leaders in red states, including Dayton, are concerned that red-lighting will lead to more problems and will be harder to enforce.
“I think there is concern that red lighting will result in fewer red light violations, which will make it more difficult to enforce red light laws, and that may be true,” said John O’Brien, the former chief of the state’s traffic enforcement division.
“We don’t have any evidence that red light districts lead to fewer red- light violations than other districts.”
State Sen. John Nygren, a Dayton Republican, said he supports the move, which he said will give couples greater freedom to decide where they want to marry.
But he said the move could result in more people being arrested for violating the law.
“It may lead to a more violent and more aggressive response by police to red light violators, which is why we need to have a thorough investigation,” he said.
Ohio has one of the highest rates of red light ticket violations in the U.S., according to a new report from the National Safety Council.
The report says red light tickets are the fourth-most common type of traffic violation in Ohio, and are cited at a rate of nearly 500,000 per year.
More than a million Ohioans are caught in red light district intersections every year, and it is believed more than 2 million of those tickets are for drunken driving.
The state recently created a red light program that will begin in May.
The plan allows drivers to use their red lights to speed past stop signs, slow down traffic or pull over.
It is the fourth red light enforcement plan adopted by Ohio, but officials said it is the most comprehensive, since it includes a plan to reduce red light cameras and increase enforcement efforts.
The Red Light Camera Coalition of Ohio says it has received more than 5,000 complaints from red light camera users and that the number of citations is up 25 percent from last year.
The coalition, which has a statewide petition drive to get the measure on the ballot, has also been organizing a “red light march” to get signatures for a referendum on the measure.
The coalition is also urging residents to call the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and ask for the red light issue to be put on the November ballot.
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