DES MOINES, Iowa -- Metro drivers are aware of traffic cameras, and the devices have drawn mixed reviews.
They are currently used in Des Moines, Windsor Heights, and Polk County. However, on Tuesday, a traffic camera ban made it through the Senate with bipartisan support.
According to the Iowa Legislative Fiscal Bureau, there are 78 state-automated traffic cameras in Iowa. Opponents of the bill say getting rid of them could result in more traffic deaths.
“When talking about school zones and I see people who are reckless and inconsiderate we can talk about common sense but that’s where we have laws because not everyone has common sense,” said Democratic Senator Tony Bisignano.
The LSA estimates more than $12 million statewide comes from traffic camera fines generated from the previous year. If the bill passes, those who oppose it fear that money is at stake. In Des Moines, that’s $3.1 million.
Some senators tried to keep the cameras in school and work zones, but those amendments did not pass.
Republicans who support the ban say traffic cameras give local government too much freedom.
“I am against traffic cameras because I think, constitutionally, we have the right to face our accuser, so I am already sold on the bill," said Republican Mark Chelgren.
The bill now moves to the House, where it is unknown which way the vote will swing. If the governor signs this into law, all automated cameras must be shut off by July 2018.