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Bill to ban most traffic cameras dead in Iowa Legislature

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -A bill that would have banned most traffic cameras in Iowa is dead for this legislative session. This is one of several attempts in the legislature to ban or regulate traffic cameras.

The bill this session would not have turned off the cameras in Cedar Rapids on the I-380 S-curve, but the city’s Police Chief, Wayne Jerman, is happy it didn’t pass.

The sight of a speed camera can make a driver slow down in a flash. Members of The ACLU of Iowa say that’s not safe.

“There’s also data that suggest that people who are driving on roads with traffic cameras sometimes slam on their breaks and create accidents that way too,” said Mark Stringer, Executive Director for ACLU of Iowa.

But Jerman disagrees.

“We have no evidence that supports that claim,” he said. Jerman says they have their own data to back up the cameras being a driving force for public safety.

“Just the last three-year period,” he said. “They’ve reduced fatal accidents by over 50% on the interstate.”

Reducing accidents, while increasing revenue for the city. Tickets from the cameras brought in more than 6.7 million dollars during the Fiscal Year 2020.

“We’re troubled that localities have become reliant on the revenue that cameras generate,” said Stringer. “In part because part of this revenue goes to companies from out of state.”

“It’s not about money to me. It’s about safety,” argued Jerman. “Those monies that are collected, we put directly towards public safety programs. Whether it’s funding additional cops, whether it’s funding police reform efforts.”

Jerman calls the cameras a resource because it lets officers get out in the community instead of watching for speeders.

The ACLU plans to push the state again to ban traffic cameras. Jerman says that should be decided at the local level.

“A city, a government is responsible for the safety and welfare of their citizens,” he said.

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