Infractions ticket proposal on hold after safety and legality qu - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Infractions ticket proposal on hold after safety and legality questions

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Plans are now on hold that would have essentially cut traffic fines in half for some drivers in Waterloo.
The infractions ticket
 proposal was expected to go up for a final vote Monday night in city council, but the issue is being tabled after concerns from the state.
Waterloo Safety Services Director Dan Trelka says the state sees traffic tickets as a way to make money. He calls his proposed concept "compassionate accountability" and says a new ordinance would be a tool to help safety in the city.
"Waterloo had 1,700 traffic crashes last year, 400 had injuries, four resulted in fatalities. That's a lot of room for improvement. We can make Waterloo safer," said Trelka.
The ordinance would mean lower fines for first-time offenders in Black Hawk County for things like running red lights or stop signs, speeding and not wearing seat belts. Fine money would stay in the city, instead of being collected by the state.
Now the proposal is being put on hold. Trelka says the Iowa Department of Transportation proposed some questions-- specifically about safety. They're concerned violations won't get reported to the state.
"I counter that some of the fines that the state requires officers to write are so high. We have many officers in the state that aren't even initiating traffic stops because they don't want to be put in a position where they will have to issue this large fine," said Trelka. 
The concerns don't stop there. In mid-March, someone who lives outside of Black Hawk County contacted the office of the Ombudsman.
"The citizen was questioning how the legality of a proposal that would set up two different levels of fines: one for Black Hawk County residents and one for people who don't live in Black Hawk County ...and that was the complaint that was brought to our attention," said Jeff Burnham, Senior Assistant Office of Ombudsman.
 Right now that case is still open. Officials say they haven't determined if the proposed ordinance is contrary to law.
 Friday the Office of the Ombudsman contacted the city asking them to table the final reading for the proposal.
 The city's attorneys are now looking into it.
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