Guest Columnist

I-380 is safer with traffic cameras

Traffic travels past the speed camera northbound on Interstate 380 at J Avenue in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Traffic travels past the speed camera northbound on Interstate 380 at J Avenue in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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Rep. Bobby Kaufmann:

I cannot believe you are caving in to the proposed ban on traffic cameras. My wife and I drive Interstate 380 through Cedar Rapids and know that the traffic has slowed to reasonable speeds in recent years. You should come to Cedar Rapids and drive I-380 and see how much safer it is today.

It appears that you, Sen. Brad Zaun (and others) have listened to those who are yelling loudest and not anxious to pay their fines for breaking the law. Check with the Iowa State Patrol and police officers in Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Sioux City — they will tell you about how cameras have slowed traffic. I am not thrilled about the very real possibility of a return to speeding autos going 70, 75, 80 and, yes, 85 mph through the heart of Cedar Rapids.


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My senior friends and I cannot believe that a notable on-air personality (Simon Conway) of WMT Radio has refused to pay his fine for breaking the law and apparently has enlisted others to join his cause. We have a hard time wondering why you would defend those who break the law by speeding. I guess you have been convinced that our safety laws are nothing but a “cash cow.” The very purpose of the fine is to make sure the perpetrator will not speed while traveling through Cedar Rapids and other cities protected by cameras. If the fine hurts, it will likely be remembered.

Your friends in Cedar and Muscatine counties do not have to drive on I-380 through Cedar Rapids every day. If they did, I do not believe they would be as concerned about the Cedar Rapids stepped-up collection of fines as “a clear overreach,” as expressed by the sheriffs of Cedar and Muscatine counties, many legislators and citizens.

I wish you had taken the time to visit with Wayne Jerman, Cedar Rapids chief of police, before jumping on the “ban the cameras bandwagon.” He spoke of a 79 percent increase in vehicles traveling 67 mph or faster after speed cameras were shut down last summer. He went on to say the increase was very alarming for that stretch of interstate.

All legislators should be aware that vehicle fatalities in Iowa topped 400 in 2016. Does the state of Iowa condone interstate speeding? How many fatalities will occur once the cameras are banned? Are you willing to take that chance once the cameras are banned?

Let’s see who has the courage to stand for safety regardless of those who complain loudly that their rights have been denied.

• Dick Trotter is a retired coach and teacher living in Cedar Rapids.

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