Traffic speed cameras in Iowa are about to undergo a major change.

Governor Kim Reynolds has signed House File 2681 into law, which goes into effect July 1.

Among the changes in the new law:

  • 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.
  • Anyone ticketed can provide evidence they were not driving at the time the ticket was issued if they provide the name and address of the person who was driving the vehicle.

Before reaching the governor's desk, the bill had easily breezed through the Iowa Legislature, passing by votes of 85-12 in the House and 46-4 in the Senate.

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Once the law goes into effect, 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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