Public Safety

Cedar Rapids traffic cameras issue more than 26,400 citations in first month

Traffic flows under the automated traffic cameras on I-380 southbound near J Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (The Gazette)
Traffic flows under the automated traffic cameras on I-380 southbound near J Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — In the first 31 days after automated traffic cameras in Cedar Rapids started issuing citations again, police data shows a total of 26,424 tickets were issued for red-light or speed violations — an average of more than 852 a day.

The vast majority of those — 26,103 — were for speeding violations from cameras installed in eight locations, including four on Interstate 380. The city’s four red-light cameras — at First Avenue and 10th Street E, Edgewood Road and 42nd Street NE, First Avenue and L Street SW and Williams Boulevard and 16th Avenue SW — issued the remaining 321.

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, the last full year all the cameras operated before temporarily being turned off, 148,717 violations were captured by the cameras. That’s a daily average of 406 for the leap year.

July’s statistics show the most tickets — 12,293 — were issued from the speed camera on the southbound side of I-380 at J Avenue NE. The top speed recorded there was 96 mph, 41 mph over the 55-mph speed limit.

Another speed camera on the northbound side of I-380 at J Avenue NE issued the second-highest number of tickets, at 10,615; and 2,618 tickets were issued by the cameras on the northbound side of the interstate at Diagonal Drive SW. The highest speeds recorded at those locations were 96 and 83 mph respectively.

Speed cameras at southbound I-380 and First Avenue SW, and at the northbound ramp at Center Point Road and Highway 100 issued a combined 326 tickets.

But tickets weren’t the cameras’ only impact.

Between May 2017 and June, a period when the cameras were not issuing tickets, the average number of crashes per month in the covered area doubled, rising from 3.22 to 6.54, police said.

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But since the traffic camera system was reactivated, the total number of crashes in those areas in July was reduced to three, one of which resulted in injuries.

The I-380 cameras stopped ticketing in 2017, and the other cameras were deactivated in 2018 because of lawsuits. The city reactivated the cameras June 1, issuing only warnings the first month. The cameras began issuing citations July 1.

At that time, police also redeployed a mobile speed camera, which is mounted in a white Chevrolet Malibu — placing it in areas where residents have voiced concern about speeding.

That unit issued only one ticket in July.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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