TRAFFIC CAMERAS

Traffic camera ban, restrictions on the table in Iowa Legislature

2013-01-23T14:59:00Z 2013-01-24T12:07:26Z Traffic camera ban, restrictions on the table in Iowa LegislatureRod Boshart The Quad-City Times
January 23, 2013 2:59 pm  • 

DES MOINES — Opponents of traffic enforcement cameras are going to take another run at banning the devices statewide this legislative session.

Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, filed three bills Wednesday dealing with red-light and speed-monitoring cameras, such as those operating in Davenport, Muscatine and other Iowa cities.

One would ban the devices effective July 1, and others would seek to place new restrictions and regulations on local governments to cap fines for violations and designate some of the revenue from the automated enforcement for other uses.

“I’m hearing from more and more Iowans,” Zaun said. “I think the support to get rid of these is growing rather than shrinking.”

Zaun said he expects the 2013 session at least would produce some limitations and restrictions on the operation of traffic-enforcement cameras.

Last session, the Iowa House voted 58-42 to ban traffic enforcement cameras, but the issue never came to a vote in the Iowa Senate. Zaun said the Iowa General Assembly has 37 new members this year, so the prospect for legislative action on the issue is uncertain this early in the process.

Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa, who took over as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said the Iowa Department of Transportation has issued guidelines for the operation of automated enforcement devices. He said he wants to use those guidelines as a starting point for possible policy changes that could include uniform citations for violations or other operational rules that would assume their continued use by local jurisdictions with local control to enhance safety.

“I don’t think we’re going to eliminate them completely. I’d say that’s probably a pretty accurate statement,” Bowman said. “The big thing for me is safety. To a certain degree, the argument becomes should I be able to break the law without having any consequences just because a police officer is not right there to catch you? To me, that’s condoning the wrong behavior.”

Bowman said he was willing to have a discussion about reshaping the regulations for operating traffic-enforcement devices.

“I’m going to be having a lot of conversations with people that have interest in this area and listen and see what direction we want to go,” he said. “It is going to be discussed. Where it goes from there, we’ll see, but it’s not a closed door. We are going to look at it.”

Zaun said his preference is to ban the devices outright, but he also is looking at options to limit how much camera operators can receive as a share of the proceeds, as well as ways to require that the excess revenue generated by traffic enforcement cameras be deposited into trust accounts that fund local nonprofit organizations or provide money for people involved in accidents with uninsured drivers. He also favors putting the excess proceeds after contract obligations are paid to the camera operators into the state road use tax fund.

Davenport collected $1.34 million in revenue from traffic cameras during fiscal year 2011. That revenue goes into the city's general fund, but it is tabbed for public safety use, such as police overtime and operating the traffic camera program in the police department's traffic division.

Gov. Terry Branstad has said he would sign legislation to ban traffic-monitoring devices if the legislature sends a bill to his desk.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(10) Comments

  1. TruthOnlyBeTold
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    TruthOnlyBeTold - January 24, 2013 12:59 pm
    Last year we had the ACLU and Republicans on the same side of the fence on this issue...it's those money hungry Democrats that want to keep on filling the coffers of cities and the pockets of private corporations, that are behind these cameras.
  2. TruthOnlyBeTold
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    TruthOnlyBeTold - January 24, 2013 12:50 pm
    A parking ticket is a non-moving (civil) violation and it's fine is based on that as 1of3 says. Running a red light or speeding are moving (criminal) violations and should not be reduced in severity to a civil violation just to fill the coffers of a city and boost the bottom line of a private corporation.
  3. 1of3
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    1of3 - January 24, 2013 11:55 am
    You do hace a point there common, the only difference is the cost of a parking ticket is way less than the cost of these traffic cameras. I still strongly feel that the cameras are uncsonstitutional and that they should be banned.
  4. common2cents
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    common2cents - January 24, 2013 9:56 am
    1of3, the same is true if that person you lend the car were to park it illegally. The car gets the parking ticket and the owner would be responsible for paying, if your friend isn't considerate enough to pay it.
  5. Orpheus
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    Orpheus - January 24, 2013 8:41 am
    I've never been ticketed by a traffic camera, have had zero accidents, and no moving violations and I 100% support removing the traffic cameras. The main reason why I object is that once this type of monitoring and intrusion becomes commonplace and acceptable, government intrusion continues to grow with less objection. The other method is to use misdirection. As an example, the cameras were installed under the guise of safety, when in fact, it's easy to see they exist to simply to generate income for the city. If safety was the ONLY concern, many other options exist as an alternate punishment to the driver. Instead, City of Davenport fines were so bad, the State of Iowa capped the maximum amount of fines last year. If not, the $1.34 million in generated revenue would likely be triple that, if not more. Don't buy the misdirection, but most of all, respect and honor your rights enough to stand up for them.
  6. MRM
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    MRM - January 24, 2013 7:24 am
    My only thought is ban these cameras because they can be use for other purposes like they do in England to track their citizens and as we all know the way we are going America is not above tracking their citizens either. ( The security act of nine eleven) As for all of you who say they never break the law you need to know most of us don’t break the law but we all get punished for the few who do and that is not the America I grew up in. As for those of you who say if you don’t have anything to hide then why worry. Big brother is watching and invades every corner of our lives where he doesn’t belong. People in America have short memories. Have we forgotten how J Egger Hoover worked? If you don’t know about J Egger Hoover then you should read about him because he believed big brother should know everything about you. He also used the information and his position for his own advantage like manipulating four or five of our presidents. Beware of giving big brother too much power over your life, just because you are a law abiding citizen doesn’t mean they won’t do you.
  7. 1of3
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    1of3 - January 24, 2013 5:58 am
    Petty for some people you may be right. However, there is a whole other side to it. I do not approve of the trafic cameras because they ticket the car not the driver. So if you loan your car to a friend or a family member in need and they are ticketed by one of these cameras, you get the ticket not the person who is guilty of the action. You should not be guilty of another persons actions.

  8. TruthOnlyBeTold
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    TruthOnlyBeTold - January 23, 2013 5:19 pm
    Mayor Gluba says that one of the positive reasons for Davenport owning the casino is that the bulk of the $$$ spent will stay in Davenport (very perceptive of the Mayor)...so, why not get rid of the traffic cams, since about 40% of every dollar paid in fines leaves Davenport and is kept by RedFlex? That's $400,000 for every $1M in fines levied that leaves the local economy and never comes back.....and fewer dollars for gambling at the taxpayers casino!
  9. Pettymania
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    Pettymania - January 23, 2013 4:32 pm
    I can't speak for anybody else, but I personally feel that the people that want them banned are the same exact people that think yellow lights mean to "gun it." I personally don't typically do that so I have no problem with those cameras being in place. Plus, I feel a little safer, especially when I'm one of the first cars at a major intersection, with those cameras there.
  10. 1of3
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    1of3 - January 23, 2013 3:10 pm
    I hope they ban them.
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