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New bill in Iowa legislature calls for end to red light and speed cameras

New bill in Iowa legislature calls for end to red light and speed cameras

Vicki Billington, owner of Attitudes Salon, and her employees use the busy 16th and West Broadway intersection in Council Bluffs all the time. It's one of six in the city that has red light cameras.

"I think they're great because it cuts down on some of the accidents," said Billington.

If passed, a new bill in the state legislature would essentially prohibit the "use of automated or remote systems for traffic law enforcement," which includes both speed cameras and red light cameras.

Not everybody likes them.

"I don't support them I guess," said one customer at the salon. "They're just a little expensive for the fine."

In Council Bluffs, if you're caught with a red light camera it's a $100 ticket, which does not go on your driving record.

Some lawmakers question whether the cameras actually make the roads safer. Then another issue often brought is the notion of "Big Brother" is watching.

"There are cameras everywhere in the world," said Council Bluffs public works director Greg Reeder, who doesn't want the red light cameras to come down. "There's always been some controversy attached to it, but from our perspective, it does what it's intended to do, which makes our roads safer."

According to data collected by the city, at the six intersections with red light cameras, running a red light accounted for 15% of the crashes. At the 20 city intersections without red light cameras, running a red light accounted for 36% of the crashes.

"I'd like to see some in Omaha too," said Billington.

Right now, the devices are illegal in the state of Nebraska.

"There's really no reason why red enforcement technology shouldn't have a realistic chance of passing in Nebraska if it's well educated," said Jim McGee, who worked for the Nebraska Department of Roads.

In council bluffs, though, Billington says the cameras have got to stay.

"As far as foot traffic, vehicles, anything, I think it's a lot safer area," she said, "so they're not running through those yellow lights."

We did leave a message for Rep. Bobby Kaufmann who is one of the lawmakers backing the bill. We have not heard back yet.

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