Regulations on Red Light Cameras?
(SIOUX CITY, IA) A new bill in Des Moines has re-ignited the fight over red light and speed cameras.
Two weeks ago a bill was introduced that would take the money generated by those cameras and give it to the state of Iowa.
Now, lawmakers have drafted a separate bill that would regulate where cities can put them.
Be honest, when you see a speed camera do you slow down?
"The cameras I know have slowed me down and I know that they've slowed other people down," says Bob Scott, Sioux City Mayor.
It's a habit learned over time. The same goes for red light cameras. When a new camera is installed some cities see a short-term increase in crashes.
"They will go up for about 30 days and then the driver behavior will start to kick in and it goes back down. We never suffered that. We never had that result," Captain Mel Williams with the Sioux City Police Department. "Ours has always been a steady decrease in accidents and a steady decrease in the number of people running red lights."
The new bill would regulate these cameras to keep cities from cashing in on drivers instead of protecting them.
"The Department has gotten many comments on, [They say] well we'd like to have a camera on our road that comes through our town and stuff and so this is a way of just trying to restrict the number of these things that are going up and making sure that the focus is for safety reasons not just to pad city budgets," says Iowa Representative, Ron Jorgensen, one of the lawmakers that helped pass it through a House subcommittee.
If the bill became law, the moveable red light cameras would be banned on state highways but stationary speed cameras could be put in their place. And any current red light cameras on state highways would remain where they are but every year the city would have to prove they are making roads safer.
And Mayor Scott says he has no problem proving both red light and speed cameras keep drivers, pedestrians and city workers safe.
"For those people who have never worked construction, and never worked when people are whizzing by you at 65 mph it's a problem," says Scott. "We should be concerned about those workers that are out there everyday risking their lives to rebuild that interstate and we ought to slow traffic down."
The bill has passed through a House Subcommittee. Now it goes to the full transportation committee.
If the bill passes and heads to the full house Jorgensen says he'll try to amend the ban on moveable speed cameras in construction areas.