TRAFFIC CAMERAS: DOT Implements New Guidelines

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The Iowa DOT says it wants proof traffic cameras are improving safety instead of a city's bottom line.

"The proposed rules are out there to make sure safety is the only issue that's out there."

The agency made a list of guidelines approved Friday that apply to highways and interstates

They require cities to consider all other options before installing a traffic camera.

Even then the camera can only be used in high crash areas or school zones.

Cities must also submit annual reports proving the cameras are reducing speed, red light running, or reducing accidents.

"I think the rules help bring equity to the system,” said Paul Trombino, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Not everyone agrees with the DOT guidelines.

The Sioux City Police Department says exploring other safety options like adding auxiliary lanes takes too long.

"As an officer, it's my job to make my roads safe under the present conditions of the roadway,” said Captain Melvin Williams of the Sioux City Police Department.

Police in Windsor Heights say the DOT is making it difficult to address safety issues.

"The collaboration fell apart. There wasn't a chance to engage and work together in a partnership,” said Chief Dennis McDaniel of the Windsor Heights Police Department.

Both police agencies prefer a bill working its way through the statehouse.

On Thursday, the House Transportation Committee approved a bill creating a consistent fine system, and giving drivers notice the cameras are there.

The bill would replace the DOT guidelines if approved.

"It's up to the legislature to write the laws and set the policy of public safety,” said Senator Pam Jochum.

The DOT is hopeful that if a bill is passed, that its guidelines are considered.

"Here's the process we need to follow for this bill. Otherwise, you could see these cameras anywhere and everywhere,” Trombino told Channel 13 News.

The House could begin debating the traffic camera bill on the floor next week.

The Senate Transportation Committee is yet to approve its own version of a traffic camera bill.

If lawmakers can’t agree on a bill addressing speed cameras, then the DOT guidelines will stay in affect.


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