New DOT Rules May Eliminate Traffic Cams - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

New DOT Rules May Eliminate Traffic Cams

 By: Jason Rantala

@jarantala

jrantala@myabc5.com 

The Iowa DOT is meeting with a legislative committee Tuesday, in an effort to oversee state traffic cameras.

If enacted, the new rules may end up reducing the number of traffic cams on Iowa highways.

The DOT's oversight would only affect cameras on state–run highways, and the soonest the oversights could take place is February 12th of next year.

Traffic cameras in Iowa are a contentious issue.

Just ask State Senator Brad Zaun, one of the cameras' most vocal opponents.

"These have become more about revenue than they have been public safety," said Zaun. 

The use of automated cameras on roads across the state is meant to increase safety, but the Iowa DOT says there may be better ways to do that.

"In the last three or four years, a lot more cities have started using them in a lot more locations, and so the DOT felt like we needed to provide some sort of oversight," said Iowa DOT Traffic Director Steve Gent.

These rules would require cities or counties that want or have cameras to submit an annual report.  The reports would contain information regarding crashes, speeding incidents and the effectiveness of the cameras.

The DOT would evaluate that data and decide what the most effective way is to make the roads safer.

"Proposed rules really create a process for cities and counties that want to use automated traffic enforcement systems on how they will go about getting approval to use those," said Gent.

The DOT says they will also consider safety measures like additional auxiliary lanes, for instance if a capacity issue is found, or they could decide to increase visibility of traffic signals.

Up next is a meeting on October 30th that the public is invited to. The DOT will then decide what avenue to take after that.

"Since the DOT cannot own or operate any traffic cameras, nor does the DOT receive any funding, we're more objective, and I say 'we' meaning DOT, we're more objective when we can look at these."

"I think it's a good first step. I'm still not going to give up my fight to completely ban them statewide," said Zaun.

 

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