A red light camera ban is one step closer in Iowa City, Iowa. On Tuesday night Iowa City Council voted unanimously to repeal an ordinance allowing the use of automatic traffic-enforcement cameras.
In addition to repealing the previous ordinance, the proposed ban will disallow the use of any automated drones or cameras that record vehicles or license plate numbers. Essentially, traffic and parking citations cannot be issued unless the violation is witnessed by a police officer or parking attendant.
The ban was proposed by StopBigBrother.org. The civil rights organization contends that "traffic surveillance has little to do with safety and everything to do with revenue." The group further asserts that the use of automatic traffic-enforcement devices are a violation of citizens' constitutional rights.
Their protest and petition gained the attention of Iowa City Council. As the city has not installed any cameras to date, officials have recommended that the ordinance be repealed.
The proposed red light camera ban for Iowa City is just two votes away from becoming law. If enacted, the surveillance devices will be banned citywide for the next two years.
As reported by The Gazette, the state of Iowa is set to make decisions concerning the use of red light cameras some time next year. The state rules may encourage city leaders to reconsider the used of the automated devices in two year. However, a majority of city leaders have suggested suspending their installation at this time.
With automated traffic-enforcement devices appearing in cities nationwide, the red light camera ban would be one small step in favor of more privacy. Authorities argue that the cameras are used to promote safety, as those who run red lights and speed are more likely to cause accidents. However, critics contend that cities are simply concerned with the money they will receive when residents pay their fines.
Nobody likes getting a traffic ticket, but many argue that if necessary, they would prefer to receive them from an actual human being. The red light camera ban will continue to be a hot topic of discussion as cities and states across the US debate the constitutionality of their use.