Over the years, Iowa has banked a considerable amount of money thanks to traffic cameras that automatically issue tickets to drivers who are speeding on highways and streets throughout the Hawkeye State.

But now there is a push in the Iowa Legislature to pull back on the number of cameras.

This week, the Senate voted 46-1 to approve House File 2681, which would introduce a whole host of new regulations regarding speed cameras. That vote came six days after the House passed the bill by a vote of 85-12.

Among the provisions contained in the proposed legislation:

  • Cities and counties seeking to use automated cameras, which can issue speeding tickets, would be required to seek a state permit with a written justification.
  • Cameras would be allowed in smaller communities (under 20,000 people), but no tickets could be issued; only warnings.
  • Signs would be required at least 500 to 1,000 feet in advance to warn drivers of the location of cameras.
  • Traffic enforcement camera tickets would only be issued to drivers exceeding the speech limit by more than 10 miles an hour.
  • Any stored photos of license plates from the cameras would be deleted within 30 days unless they're part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The bill now goes to Governor Kim Reynolds for approval.

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If it becomes law, cities, and counties that currently have automated cameras will continue using them while they wait for their permit application to be approved or denied by the state. All others would have to wait until at least 2026 to receive a permit.

According to the latest numbers from the Legislative Services Agency, at least 19 Iowa cities and towns operated automatic traffic enforcement systems including Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Muscatine, Council Bluffs, Waterloo, LeClaire, Strawberry Point, Hudson, Chester, Buffalo, Miles, Independence, and Oelwein.

So just how much money is being generated from the cameras?

Just in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. more than $10 million in fines were collected in fiscal year 2023, with nearly 300,000 citations issued.

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