What’s the Big Deal with Traffic Cameras?

The Iowa legislature continues to go back and forth on whether or not to allow traffic cameras in our state. Every year, someone tries to get a bill through to ban them, but it ends up going nowhere.

I’m sorry, but I don’t understand their dilemma. Why is this such a hot topic that never seems to be resolved?

Aren’t traffic cameras just enforcing the law?

The people who oppose traffic cameras must think they’re only breaking the law if a real person catches them. Does that mean it’s OK to speed or run a red light if no one’s there to see you? I know I’ve seen plenty of examples where this happens.

They’ll say that cities (and the traffic camera companies) are just using them to collect revenue, but you know what? If people were following the law, there would be no revenue. So, what’s the beef?

And what’s wrong with more revenue anyway? I’m definitely not promoting traffic cameras because of the money they bring in. Tickets given to you by a police officer require you to pay as well.

Unfortunately, we have to hit people in their money belts to get their attention. I remember one time when my dad got a speeding ticket. He said it was like burning money. That’s right. But it’s so easy to avoid.

Isn’t photographic proof of an infraction more reliable than a person anyway? We all know people can see things differently. All kinds of crimes are solved more readily now because of the presence of cameras. They’re everywhere. So why shouldn’t we use them to enforce traffic laws?

The arguments for the use of cameras

Speed cameras are supposed to help reduce speeding. They can be there 24 hours a day while the police cannot. And wouldn’t you rather have the police working on more serious crimes anyway? I would.

Red light cameras should keep people from running red lights. I see this all the time. There are so many “right on red” abusers. Some roll through the intersection while others barely slow down.

I’ve also seen many people go straight on a red light. Not that long ago, someone evidently got tired of waiting and just decided it was his turn to go, despite having a red light. And this was at a very busy intersection!!

When I was working downtown, I had to be very careful crossing the streets. I saw too many people running red lights. And sometimes people were hit.

Would these things happen if a camera was at that intersection?

Can’t we just get on with it?

According to the Des Moines Register, sixty-two percent of Iowans think traffic cameras don’t deserve lawmakers’ attention, according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll in February. Hello – is anyone listening?

Seriously, aren’t there more pressing items that need attention? Maybe we could use the traffic camera revenue to support education, mental health, and our deteriorating roads and bridges. You know, those things that never get anywhere in the legislature either.

Hmmm, exactly what are they accomplishing? Sorry, this wasn’t intended to be a slam on our legislature. But it’s definitely frustrating at times.

I know all about bureaucracy. I worked in corporate America. And I also know all about pet projects that seem to get attention and dollars when everyone can see they aren’t where our time should be focused. It’s all about power and control.

I know it won’t end and I will continue to be baffled by all of this. I will always come back to this though – breaking the law is breaking the law, regardless of how you’re caught.

Your turn. Vote in my poll and we’ll see what all of you think. I don’t know for sure but I have to think this issue isn’t limited to Iowa.

The poll will be live through midnight CDT on May 31, but don’t wait. Vote now!!

4 thoughts on “What’s the Big Deal with Traffic Cameras?”

  1. Here in northern Florida we have traffic cameras, but they’re literally only used for traffic. I didn’t know that, and one day I went through a red that I though would stay yellow longer than it did. I freaked out for a couple of hours until I finally did some web research that explained our county doesn’t use the cameras for red light runners. Of course, after pondering that for a bit (now that I knew I was in the clear), I sort of think it’s dumb to have the cameras only for traffic monitoring. And so it goes…

    1. Glad you were in the clear, Marty. With all the controversy here it’s tough to know which cameras are even operational.

    1. It’s so crazy. Maybe we should run for office, except we’re too smart for that!!

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