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“Automated camera enforcement” (cameras) coming to Iowa’s highways


This news story was published on March 20, 2013.
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iowadotlogoAMES, Iowa –  The Iowa Department of Transportation will soon begin the formal process of adopting rules to govern implementation and placement of automated traffic enforcement systems, both fixed and mobile, on the Primary Highway System. This includes any municipal extension of that system. The Interstate Highway System is part of the Primary Highway System. Automated traffic enforcement systems include speed and red-light camera enforcement technologies.

In 2012, the Iowa DOT implemented guidelines to ensure consistency statewide in use of automated traffic enforcement systems on the Primary Highway System. Adoption of rules for automated traffic enforcement will provide local governmental agencies with a defined process for documenting a critical traffic safety issue at a specific location and implementing the warranted traffic safety solution(s) when automated traffic enforcement is involved.

The Iowa DOT anticipates the rule process will be completed by the end of the year. The department is granted the authority to adopt rules under Iowa Code 307.12.

The Iowa DOT is responsible for the state’s Primary Highway System, which includes the interstate, U.S. and “Iowa” state highways.

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More information:

Primary Highway System

Automated Traffic Enforcement Guidelines Iowa Department of Transportation Revised January 2013

Introduction

When used properly, automated camera enforcement technology has the potential to be an effective tool to enhance traffic safety. It should only be considered after other engineering and enforcement solutions have been explored and implemented.

These guidelines are designed to ensure consistency statewide in the use of automated enforcement technology on the Primary Highway System. Devices covered by this guidance include speed and red-light camera enforcement technologies.

Iowans value the safety and security of their communities. They expect their transportation system to provide them and others with a safe and efficient means of travel. Therefore, they should expect automated enforcement systems to be used only at locations where there is a significant crash history or high-risk of such occurrences; and where the technology can directly address the primary traffic safety issue. Iowans should also expect these systems to provide uniform notice and meet a high standard for operational practice.

Seldom should an automated enforcement system be used as a long-term solution for speeding or red-light running. Instead, a traffic safety plan should be developed that includes solutions such as infrastructure improvements, use of innovative traffic control systems, alternative enforcement approaches and public education, which can eliminate the need for automated enforcement. Funding for these long-term solutions could come from collection of traffic citation fees.

These guidelines include a requirement for ongoing evaluation to measure the effectiveness of automated traffic enforcement technology on lowering traffic speeds and/or reducing crashes. This evaluation process can also be used to convey to the public the effectiveness of the system on enhancing traffic safety. In addition, it will assist in determining whether continued use of the technology is warranted at specific locations.

Use of traffic safety data

Traffic safety data must be used to determine where fixed automated enforcement is warranted. Potential candidates include high-crash and high-risk locations. These guidelines apply to all municipalities currently using or planning to use these technologies on Iowa’s Primary Highway System. Existing photo enforcement systems or proposed locations not on Iowa’s Primary Highway System are not subject to these guidelines and may be used as deemed necessary by the jurisdiction responsible for those roadways.

High-crash locations are those where data indicates a greater frequency or higher rate of crashes. • High-risk locations are those where the safety of citizens or law enforcement officers would be at higher

risk through conventional enforcement methods.

1|PageSubmitting a “Justification report”

A municipality requesting to install a fixed automated enforcement system on the Primary Highway System shall prepare a justification report. The report shall be submitted to the Iowa Department of Transportation district engineer. Its content will be used to consider for approval installation of automated enforcement at a specific highway location(s). If approved, the municipality will be directed to complete the necessary permit(s) to perform installation.

The justification report shall provide adequate information on the proposed location(s) and supporting evidence as to why an automated enforcement system is needed. The Iowa DOT will consider the potential for operational and safety benefits.

1. Site selection criteria

To be considered for installation of an automated enforcement system, the highway location must fit within one or more of these descriptions.

• An area where conventional enforcement is unsafe, ineffective or unable to adequately address the traffic safety need

• An area or intersection with a significant history of crashes, which can be attributed to red-light running or speeding

• An intersection with a significant history of red-light offenses • A school zone • A work zone • A location where operational issues create significant problems and an automated enforcement

system can help manage a more orderly flow of traffic

2. Supporting data

The justification report shall document existing traffic speeds, posted speed limits, locations of speed limit signs, traffic volumes, intersection geometry, traffic violations, crash history, law enforcement measures taken, and public education provided. This data shall also be used to report on the primary cause(s) of the traffic problem(s) and to identify potential countermeasures.

Automated enforcement technology should only be considered after other engineering and enforcement solutions have been explored and implemented. The justification report shall document what other solutions have been implemented and why additional countermeasures cannot be taken.

In addition, the report shall document discussions held and actions taken with partnering agencies who have resources that could aid in the reduction of crashes.

The justification report shall also provide assurance that the existing speed limits and traffic signal timings are appropriate and were established using accepted standards.

NOTE: In 2012, the Center for Transportation, Research & Education at Iowa State University published the report, Toolbox of Countermeasures to Reduce Red Light Running. This report will serve as a reference for local agencies and the Iowa DOT. Presently, no similar reference exists for automated speed enforcement.

Minimum requirements

For each fixed automated enforcement system installed on the Primary Highway System, the following minimum requirements shall be met.

1. Public awareness A key element to the success of any traffic enforcement practice, including the use of automated enforcement, is implementation of a strong public awareness campaign. Minimally, the following communication strategies shall be employed.

• Information on the location of each automated enforcement site shall be published on a public website within the jurisdiction(s) where the site is located. The public and media shall be notified of the location of the website.

• The public shall be notified of the municipality’s intent to install automated enforcement technology at any new location. Minimally, this shall be accomplished by publishing an official public notice in the local paper once per month for a total of three months prior to installation. Other means of notifying the public are encouraged.

• With each new installation, the local jurisdiction shall provide a one month familiarization period in which the automated enforcement technology will be in normal use; however, only warning notices will be issued to violators.

2. Signage • Permanent signs may be posted on primary access roads entering municipalities that use automated

traffic enforcement technology. • For all speed or red-light running automated enforcement locations, signs shall be posted in advance

of the locations to advise drivers that cameras are in place. • For mobile automated enforcement (equipment installed in a vehicle or trailer parked along a

shoulder), temporary signs advising that speed is monitored by automated traffic technology shall

be posted in advance of the enforcement area. • All signing will be in accordance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

3. Enforcement Automated traffic enforcement technology shall be used in conjunction with conventional law enforcement methods; and not used as a replacement for law enforcement officer contact.

Evaluation

Annually, each jurisdiction with active automated enforcement on Iowa Primary Highway systems shall evaluate the effectiveness of its use. The results shall be reported to the Iowa DOT’s Office of Traffic and Safety by April 15th each year following a full calendar year of operation, based on performance for the previous year. At a minimum, the evaluation shall:

• Address the impact of automated traffic enforcement technology on reducing the speeds and/or number of red-light running violations at sites being monitored.

• Identify the number and type of collisions at the sites being monitored, listing comparison data for before-and-after years (for intersection enforcement, only the monitored approaches need to be included in the evaluation).

• Provide information on the total number of citations issued, fees assessed, fees collected, costs incurred by the municipality to operate/manage the system, and fees paid to any vendor.

Continued use of automated enforcement technology

The Iowa DOT will utilize information collected annually from municipalities using automated enforcement technologies to assist in evaluating the continued need for such systems at each authorized location. Continued use will be contingent on the effectiveness of the system and appropriate administration of it by the municipality. The department understands that even the most effective safety countermeasure will only reduce crashes to a certain level, at which time, crash numbers will plateau at this lower level.

The Iowa DOT reserves the right to require removal or modification of a system in a particular location, as deemed appropriate.

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46 Responses to “Automated camera enforcement” (cameras) coming to Iowa’s highways

  1. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something which
    I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very
    broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to
    get the hang of it!

  2. Martin Reply Report comment

    June 5, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  3. Katie Reply Report comment

    March 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I seem to remember from a business law class I took that an employer is responsible for its employees’ misdemeanors if they happen on the job. I remember this well, because I was driving our business vehicle on an errand and I got warned for going 61 mph. The speed limit had just dropped from 70 to 55 and we were all just getting used to it. When I got back to work, I smiled at my bosses and asked if they were responsible for their employees’ misdemeanors while driving a company vehicle.(I was sure the answer was yes.) Their faces fell and asked what the hell happened. I laughed and said I’d gotten a speed warning. They were greatly relieved and I had a good laugh at their expense.

    I’m not sure how you could collect from an employee unless you have a dedicated vehicle or proof of some kind as to who was driving or who ran an errand at that time. And I would think that there would need to be something in the employee handbook that any traffic violations would be the responsibility of the employee or else the employer might be stuck with them. Something to check with a lawyer or HR specialist about.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      That’s the company you worked for. You can’t speak for all companies. When a patrolman asks for your drivers license and hands you a ticket he’s fining YOU not the company. Your name will be on the ticket not the company’s. It’s your name that will be filed on record not the company. In some cities or states if it’s a parking ticket it could be the company who pays because that would be the license plate on file. I would think it may depend on the type violation. But I can’t fathom any business paying some one’s speeding or stop sign ticket.

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        March 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        @anonymous-whoever the vehicle is licensed to will be responsible for paying the fine. The red light camera’s have no way of knowing who is driving so the ticket is sent to the owner. That is why everyone gets so upset over these damn robots who can hit you in the pocket book even if you are not the one doing the crime.

        • anonymous Reply Report comment

          March 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm

          I wasn’t talking about the red light camera tickets. I was talking about Katies possible ticket from a patrolman. I know how the camera tickets work. It may be written into a company policy book that all tickets are paid by driver. As I said I can’t fathom a company allowing drivers to take multiple chances of accidents with their company car which would raise the rates. I’m not positive but my guess is because of ins. rates effected, they would or have some rule in place.

        • LVS Reply Report comment

          March 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm

          @anonymous-OK. I have had many vehicles with employees driving them, some of which have gotten tickets. I have never heard of what Katie is saying. Now, she said it was back when they changed the limit from 70 to 55 and as I recall that was when Carter was President back in the 70’s. It could easily have been a law back then.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Maybe they thought you were going to say you had an accident with the company vehicle and were relieved it was only a warning. People have a tendancy to expect the bad news 1st.

    • BLULS2 Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      @ Katie, Your talking about a single Business Law class that was taught next to your reefer madness class back in the 70’s. I have since taken many Business Law classes and not one of them has ever mentioned that the employer is responsible for the driving habits of its employees while they are driving company vehicles! If an employee totals a vehicle that is one thing, but speeding in one is very different. I am starting to understand why your views are the way they are…

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I respect that. Remember, you cant just make a statement or form an educated opinion on something unless you actually know what it is(That goes for anything). I am certainly no Lawyer, but nowhere does it say companies are held responsible for the driving habits of its employees. That tells me you have not worked/read up on anything since the 70’s, or ever had a business with employees!

      Cheers Neighbor!

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        March 22, 2013 at 12:14 am

        @Bulls2: Watch it. I never smoked pot or did drugs and I’ve been involved with 5 businesses with employees. None had drivers as employees. I still believe that if an employee causes an injury or damage during his hours on the job, the employer is liable. If it is strictly personal business, the employer is not liable.

        • BLULS2 Reply Report comment

          March 22, 2013 at 7:33 am

          That is not what we are talking about. Injury or damage is not at all the same as speeding… Holy crap!

        • BLULS2 Reply Report comment

          March 22, 2013 at 7:40 am

          @Katie, I was never saying you smoked pot, I knew you had never even tried it with your thoughts on the stuff(However, somehow your an expert on it). I was saying your Business Law class was taught next to your reefer madness class implying that it was out of date and not factual anymore just like all that propaganda about the devils lettuce in the 60’s-70’s. Wake up. If you are having trouble comprehending anything else I write I can break it down for you.

          Have a good day!

  4. another brick in the mall Reply Report comment

    March 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Let’s continue to think up ways to make our lives more restrictive and unpleasant. Though police would be nice as well, perhaps computer implants of some kind. Government needs more control,

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      I don’t see what difference it makes whether you’re caught by a camera or a real LE. You broke the law and no person or camera forced you to. How are cameras restricting a driver from driving within the traffic laws?
      It’s not. Buckle up and obey the laws. Driving is a privilege not a right.

  5. anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 21, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Joao Do Carmo
    March 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm
    Maybe you should be more careful who you allow to drive your car.

    High 5.

  6. maybe Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I used to live in arizona and they got these cameras, after a year there was so many problems the citizens were about to riot. Eventually after many council meetings with outraged people they took the camedras down. They might seem like a good idea but nothing but problems will follow.

    • another brick in the mall Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2013 at 6:53 am

      That means Iowa will love it!

    • anonymus Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2013 at 9:45 am

      The rich ol farts who’s money owns the city probably threatened to move to Florida if they didn’t take them down.

  7. sad but true Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    The government employees will not pay any of their healthcare. They need more money. Shut up & pay up. You are NOTHING more than a endless revenue sorce.

  8. BLULS2 Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Another thing. When a police officer writes you a ticket. That money is staying in the county where the violation was committed(Seems logical). With this system, some out sourced law enforcement company(not local) will take a hefty percentage of that revenue created, is that really what we want? And, with no proof needed as to who was actually driving the vehicle, this is ridiculous. Lets think about this before we start applauding. Iowa is not having an issue with excessive speeding… This is only here to create revenue, don’t fool yourself.

    We shouldn’t have to worry every time we let someone else drive our car’s because the police department is too busy/lazy to catch a speeding vehicle on their own! Yay…more Government.

    • anonymus Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2013 at 9:54 am

      More revenue. hmmmmm. I like that concept. Especially if it’s coming from criminals roaming the highways risking innocent people’s lives and raising ins. rates.
      It’s difficult for one patrolman to catch all violators. And there are other duties besides chasing irresponsible drivers. They tend to accidents, transport prisoners, paperwork etc.. Spend a day with one. Or have you already ridden in the back seat?

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2013 at 10:10 am

      Not having a problem with speeding? More like “not catching enough or all speeders.” Every Time I drive Hwy. 18 they pass me like I’m standing still or ride my bumper trying to push me to go faster. And I’m actually a violator going 60!

      • BLULS2 Reply Report comment

        March 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm

        10 & 2 anonymous, 10 & 2! 🙂 Hold on tight!

        • anonymous Reply Report comment

          March 21, 2013 at 9:16 pm

          Actually I lied a bit…..I find myself going 65. And when I’m on a deserted blacktop 70. I confess I’m a hypocrit. But I take full reponsibility if I get caught. 🙂

        • BLULS2 Reply Report comment

          March 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm

          As do I! I have no problem with a patrolman writing ME a ticket. I am just not okay with them sending me one in the mail when any number of employees could be driving it. They are jumping the gun on this technology and its obvious. Business owners shouldn’t have to pay fines and increased insurance premiums with no proof of who is driving the vehicles. I just don’t understand how you don’t see this as a problem. Fining people that are not committing any crimes…this is outrageous. These Cameras are 80% good and 20% garbage, and that 20%(People fined who shouldn’t be) ruins the whole thing unfortunately!

  9. anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    @ a citizen, you got it right.
    Plus I would think cameras are cheaper than paying another patrolman. And it frees them up to be out on the roads where they are needed. For accidents, catching drunk drivers and dope peddlers etc.. Rather than spending time parked behind a tree ambushing.

  10. Allen Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I think that this is a good idea. The way people drive in this town I hope they have cameras on every street. I hope they don’t forget to inform the judges of this decision, so the correct fines can be levied

    • George O Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      We should post a camera in every home then too! Think of the revenue! We would become a virtually crime free nation!

      • Allen Reply Report comment

        March 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

        I’ve already got cameras at my home, backed up by a semi automatic assualt weapon and a high capacity magazine.

        • anonymus Reply Report comment

          March 21, 2013 at 9:57 am

          Me 2. Plus my trusty dog. He insists you knock 1st before entering.

      • Allen Reply Report comment

        March 20, 2013 at 4:59 pm

        I’ve already got cameras at my home, backed up by a semi automatic assualt weapon and a high capacity magazine. hehehe

        • Goerge O. Reply Report comment

          March 20, 2013 at 5:27 pm

          That weapon is registered right? We wouldn’t want to lose track of it (in case it was stolen of course). Laws change all the time. We just want to make sure everyone is obeying them.

      • anonymous Reply Report comment

        March 21, 2013 at 10:19 am

        Many businesses have them. Kidnappers and killers have been caught via camera identification. As long a they don’t come into people’s bedrooms……I see no huge problem.

  11. BLULS2 Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    The problem is they don’t have proof of who is actually driving. No matter what, the ticket goes to the person that has the vehicle registered in his or her name. This isn’t right!

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Then the owner can make the violator pay up. If someone is missbehaving with my car and making my rates go up they can pay for it or they won’t be driving it. If owner’s ins. doesn’t cover that driver the owner has no business allowing them to drive their car. Who’d be monetarily responsible if there were an accident? The owner’s ins..So the problem in that case would be someone missbehaving with owner’s vehicle.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        March 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

        How can the owner MAKE the violator pay up?

        • anonymus Reply Report comment

          March 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

          If it’s a spouse or friend you’d do whatever it took. It’s up to you to decide how. If it’s a business they pay up or lose the job. Pretty simple concept if you “think” about it a minute.

      • BLULS2 Reply Report comment

        March 20, 2013 at 1:28 pm

        @anonymous, tell me. How do I make them pay for that? I would love to hear your reply! The Camera that would take the picture of the vehicle in violation cant even prove(make out) that you were(or were not) driving, so how am I going to prove that they were driving it then?! haha, this system is full of flaws.

        Nice try!

        • Joao Do Carmo Reply Report comment

          March 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm

          Maybe you should be more careful who you allow to drive your car.

        • BLULS2 Reply Report comment

          March 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm

          @Carmo, what about almost every business in the State… How do we issue these companies citations when their employees are the ones speeding. Not every company has dedicated vehicles to each individual employee…meaning the vehicle each employee operates can change on a day by day basis! Do we just allow them a free pass, or do we mandate that they log who drives what vehicle at all times. Seriously?! We have dozens of vehicles that almost every employee could operate on any given day, how will they figure that out…I am curious?! These are real world situations that people just don’t think of. Again, this program is a cluster!

        • Joao do Carmo Reply Report comment

          March 21, 2013 at 12:01 am

          “@Carmo, what about almost every business in the State… How do we issue these companies citations when their employees are the ones speeding. Not every company has dedicated vehicles to each individual employee…meaning the vehicle each employee operates can change on a day by day basis! Do we just allow them a free pass, or do we mandate that they log who drives what vehicle at all times. Seriously?! We have dozens of vehicles that almost every employee could operate on any given day, how will they figure that out…I am curious?! These are real world situations that people just don’t think of. Again, this program is a cluster!”

          You are confused, the tickets issued “by the camera” are issued to the registered owner, not the driver. It would make no difference if the the car owner was an individual or a coporation; the registered owner would get the ticket. Thus the comments by posters worried about getting a ticket while a friend sped while borrowing thier car; and my response about being carefull who you lent your car too.

        • BLULS2 Reply Report comment

          March 21, 2013 at 11:57 am

          @Carmo, that is exactly what I am saying. How do business owners(the people who have the vehicle registered in their name) know what employee was driving at the time of the violation. A common theme with these systems is that the owner of the registered vehicle often times wont find out about the violation until months later?! Maybe you just couldn’t comprehend the paragraph of mine you copied. Oh well, at least now I see why your a fan of this garbage.

          So are we just telling all businesses that its now their responsibility to pay for fines created by unknown employees?!(UPS, FED EX, Cab Drivers, Trucking companies, Builders…list goes on and on). These speed trap systems have failed all over the country. It’s no surprise that we try to implement this crap when its on its way out everywhere else…

  12. a citizen Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

    If a person does not exceed the speed limit or run red lights, why should he/she worry?

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Because that is where it starts, not where it ends.

    • TheRealFred Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Wait til the DOT starts raking in $$$. There will be cameras everywhere and your taxes will still go up.
      Police state, here we come.

  13. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Outsourcing law enforcement. I haven’t heard of a better idea since Blackwater.