Cedar Rapids net $600,000 in traffic violation tickets - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids net $600,000 in traffic violation tickets

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - $2,900 a day. That's about how much automated cameras posted in several locations in and around Cedar Rapids have generated for the city, by issuing tickets to speeders and red-light runners.

"To me, it's kind of scary to think that there's this many people that are violating," said Sgt. Cristy Hamblin, in an interview Monday.

Since the cameras were switched on in March, Sgt. Hamblin said they've caught tens of thousands of drivers running red lights and going faster than the posted speed limit, despite signs on the city limits warning commuters of their presence.

"At Wright Brothers Boulevard, and then at Blairs Ferry Road, there's a sign that says 'photo enforced,'" Hamblin explained.

In only seven months, the devices have generated just over $600,000 in ticket revenue for the city. That's on track to exceed the $750,000 a year that was originally estimated by city officials. Yet, Sgt. Hamblin says they are helping to slow traffic and save lives.

"We had seven fatalities in 2009. Of those seven, there were four that were on the interstate. Of those four, three of them were in the S-curve, right where we are monitoring the speed," Hamblin told us.

Police haven't had to deal with a fatal accident in that area this year, with the exception of one pedestrian who was struck and killed. However, Hamblin said there are still drivers who step on it whenever they think there are no cameras or police around.

"They'll slow down Diagonal Drive, and as soon as they're past that, they fly again," Hamblin said.

She admitted there is a bit of leniency, in terms of what speeds will actually trip the cameras.

"If these people are issued a citation, they're flying. It's not one, two, three, four, five miles an hour over the speed limit; they are going very fast," Hamblin said.

But, their ultimate purpose is to change unsafe driving habits, and Hamblin says so far, it seems to be working.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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