More Traffic Cameras Planned for Iowa – One Cedar Rapids Crash Caught on Tape

Many communities are debating whether to install additional traffic cameras throughout Iowa. Law enforcement believes traffic cameras catch speeders, red-light runners and help prevent car accidents in Iowa. However, some think the motive behind this is to raise money and make up for declining state revenue. Other motorists in Iowa believe the pictures from these cameras do not clearly show who is driving, and the wrong person could be cited.

Whatever your stance is on the issue, Iowa is already using cameras at several intersections to catch red-light violators and other radar cameras on interstates and city streets to catch speeding motorists. The Iowa State Patrol said they have no plans at this time to use cameras statewide. Their immediate need is to use cameras on stretches of the interstate that have high accident rates, and they will also look at using them in work zones.

Several cities have already installed red-light cameras as well as radar traffic cameras. The city of Des Moines has plans to install cameras on Interstate 235 in hopes of catching speeders and lower traffic accidents. In addition, they are putting up cameras to catch red-light violators at five different intersections throughout the city.

Cedar Rapids was the first city in Iowa to activate the first speed-sensing camera on a stretch of Interstate 380 earlier this summer. Steve O'Konek, Cedar Rapids Police Captain, said that since the camera on I-380 was installed, speed violations have declined by 62 percent.

Several red-light cameras in Cedar Rapids were also installed recently. The camera at the intersection of Center Point Road NE at Collins Road off-ramp already caught one crash on tape that was caused by a red-light violator. On August 3, 2010 a man driving north on Center Point Road ran a red-light and collided with a pickup truck causing a rollover. The entire accident was caught on camera, as the camera was just installed ten days prior. Police said the driver of the car will be ticketed for running the red-light.

Traffic cameras can be of great help catching an Iowa car accident on tape; however, they can also cause confusion. The vehicle's owner will be the one who receives the traffic citation in the mail, even if he or she was not the one driving. It will ultimately be up to the owner of the vehicle to sort things out.