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Red Light Cameras in Iowa: Where Are They, and Why Are They There?

As of June 2014, there were 503 communities in the United States that used cameras to catch vehicles that ran red lights, and there were 132 communities in the United States that used cameras to catch vehicles that were speeding. The state of Iowa uses both types of cameras in an effort to deter dangerous behavior and prevent accidents.

Where Are Iowa’s Traffic Enforcement Cameras?

Iowa does not have a state law regarding the use of red light or speed cameras as of June 2014. However, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the following communities do use red light cameras for traffic enforcement purposes:

  • Cedar Rapids: Red light and speed cameras.
  • Clive: Red light cameras only.
  • Council Bluffs: Red light cameras only.
  • Davenport: Red light and speed cameras.
  • Des Moines: Red light and speed cameras.
  • Fort Dodge: Speed cameras only.
  • Muscatine: Red light and speed cameras.
  • Polk County: Speed cameras only.
  • Sioux City: Red light and speed cameras.
  • Windsor Heights: Speed cameras only.

In February 2014, Iowa transportation officials issued rules that require cameras to be placed only at high-risk locations. Each year, local officials need to justify the location of the cameras according to these Iowa Department of Transportation rules.

The Effectiveness of Red Light Cameras Is Up for Debate

Do red light cameras actually prevent accidents in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and other communities? Supporters of red light cameras say that the cameras act as a deterrent and help prevent intersection accidents. Critics counter that argument by saying that the cameras do not have a significant deterrent effect and instead are used to make money for local governments.

If you are hurt in an intersection crash then it is too late for a red light camera to prevent your accident. Now, you need to learn what to do after an accident occurs. To that end, we encourage you to download a free copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Automobile Accident Victims, and to contact us directly for a free consultation.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham