Guesstimate good enough for speeding in Ohio

Forget your radar detector if you’re driving through Ohio – the Ohio Supreme Court just ruled that a police officer’s estimate is good enough to write you a ticket. (story here) Huh?

Ohio’s highest court has ruled that a person may be convicted of speeding purely if it looked to a police officer that the motorist was going too fast.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that an officer’s visual estimation of speed is enough to support a conviction if the officer is trained, certified by a training academy, and experienced in watching for speeders. The court’s 5-1 decision says independent verification of a driver’s speed is not necessary.

The court upheld a lower court’s ruling against a driver who challenged a speeding conviction that had been based on testimony from police officer in Copley, 25 miles south of Cleveland. The officer said it appeared to him that the man was driving too fast.

OK, in some instances it may be obvious that someone is speeding – like when they are outpacing the flow of traffic. But there is so much wrong with this, not the least of which is that it opens up situations of subjective or even selective enforcement. And the “violator” has no recourse.

This is a bad decision and the Ohio legislature should take the appropriate steps to mitigate it.

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