Davenport city leaders say traffic cameras do more than generate revenue

Traffic cameras in the City of Davenport may be here to stay, if officials can show that they do more than make money.

May 1st was the deadline the Iowa Department of Transportation gave cities to prove that the cameras do more than just generate revenue.

When drivers speed through a camera location or blow through a red light, a ticket gets sent to the traffic violator in the mail. The revenue from traffic lights then goes to the police department, into a general fund that pays to keep the department running.

That revenue, however, has been getting smaller over the years.

In 2011, Davenport reported those cameras generated $1,344,214 in revenue. In 2013, the cameras only generated about $813,733 in revenue from tickets.

City administrators say the declining revenue shows drivers are being more careful when traveling through those intersections, to avoid getting a ticket.

“I think we’ve taken away the incentive for people to try to speed through them or run the red light,” Davenport’s traffic engineer, Gary Staz, said.

Staz says the safety aspect of the cameras outweighs the revenue the city gets from them.

“We’re down to one (crash involving running a red light) per year at Kimberly and Elmore, instead of seven,” said Statz. “At Kimberly and Welcome Way from 2001 to 2004 we averaged 8 red light running crashes per year, with the worst being 11 in 2002. Now we’re averaging 2.67 per year over the last three years.”

The cameras are placed at four intersections in Davenport.  City statistics show crash reports have decreased by 85 percent since the cameras were first installed in 2011.

“I’m not going to be happy until it’s 100 percent,” said Statz.

The statistics are now in the hands of the Iowa DOT, which will review them and then decide if the cameras are making the intersections safer.

“It’s something that we just think is a really good thing for Iowans, that we’re making sure that these systems are about safety; and if there’s anything else we should be doing, we’re going to look at it together,” said Steve Gent, Director of the IDOT Office of Traffic & Safety. “It’s really a system where we want to work with the cities and come up with good solutions.”

One News 8 viewer said he does not believe the cameras always are fair when tickets are administered. The viewer, who is a retired police officer, said his daughter was written a ticket because her front bumper crossed a roadway stop line at a red light.

“I think that cameras have a place, but the people running the cameras should have more caution when writing the tickets,” said the retired officer.

He also noted that he would like to see the revenue generated by the cameras go to funds like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and educational programs for teens.

Previous reports indicated that city officials had until May 1 to present their statistics to the department.

6 comments

  • Stephen Donaldson

    How about the RAW Number DAVENPORT!

    You realize that if you had 2 crashes before and 1 after that would “count” as a “50% reduction”.

    Also HOW MANY CRASHES WERE RLR?????

    How many crashes WERE CAUSED by exceeding the speed limit!

    (not just logged in because “speeding” was present, BUT NOT A CAUSE!)

    Note that crashes caused by exceeding the speed limit are 1.6% US WIDE based on 25 states on NHTSA STATS! http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/38/3801.asp

    Quote: “State Reports Show Speeding Not a Significant Cause of Accidents
    Analysis of data from twenty-five states confirms exceeding the speed limit is not a significant cause of accidents.

    Speed accident chartsOut of 2.7 million traffic accidents recorded in twenty-five states over the course of a year, only 1.6 percent were caused by drivers who exceeded the posted speed limit. ”

    Also note the CAMERA VENDORS “HELP” DO REPORTS!

    http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_19580844

    Quote: “To say that ACS has a direct financial stake in demonstrating that photo radar enhances public safety should be self-evident. How could such a study possibly be accepted as a dispassionate portrayal of the facts when so much is on the line for those who are conducting it?”

    LET THE VOTERS DECIDE THIS!

    http://www.motorists.org
    http://www.banthecams.org
    camerafraud on Facebook

  • Joshua

    Also, if the money isn’t important to them and it really is “all about safety” then why not keep enough to cover the actual expenses for the system and donate the rest to charity. It was money they never had anyway so it’s no real loss to them.

  • dwyer

    asking a city to remove a revenue source is like asking it’s administration to take a pay cut. They will manufacture as many reasons as needed to justify to not do it.

  • James C. Walker

    If the DOT regulations are followed to the letter, almost every ticket camera on state roads will have to be taken down.

    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

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