CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The City of Cedar Rapids has submitted its report on the effectiveness of red light and speeding cameras posted throughout the city and along Interstate 380. The report is a required to meet new rules set forth by the Iowa Department of Transportation as they measure the need for such devices.
The report shows accidents with injuries on I-380 have gone down since before the four cameras along that stretch of road were installed. It also shows there were no crash-related fatalities in 2012 and 2013. However, the report shows that even with the cameras in place, plenty of drivers still receive tickets for speeding and running red lights.
Police Chief Wayne Jerman said Monday the cameras have made traffic safer in the Cedar Rapids area, especially along the I-380 S-curve, even though the report shows an overall increase in citations issued by the cameras in that area, as well as other intersections throughout the city.
“The overall totals between 2012 and 2013 you do see an increase, but we’re attributing that to an increase in vehicles,” said Chief Jerman.
Jerman said 1.2 million vehicles drive through areas equipped with the cameras every month, and less than 1 percent are actually cited. Coupled with the drop in crashes resulting in injuries and fatalities, he said that’s proof the devices are changing driver behavior for the better.
“This is about public safety,” Jerman told us. “I know there’s a large sentiment about it being a cash cow or a revenue generator, but I think this report justifies that public safety is enhanced and improved by having this system here.”
Jerman hopes the DOT will recognize that in the elevated S-curve area of I-380, options for keeping speeders in line are limited.
“There’s just not a good place to stop vehicles who are in violation,” Jerman said. “I fear that if any cameras are removed, you’re going to see an increase in personal injuries as a result.”
The DOT will review the reports from Cedar Rapids and other cities and counties using the cameras over the next month, to determine if their use is justified in those areas.