NMA Speed Trap Spotlight: Iowa

In March, the Iowa Department of Transportation shut down 10 of 34 speed cameras on or near Iowa’s major highways because they had no positive safety impact. Communities affected include Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Muscatine and Sioux City, and several have filed appeals to keep the cameras flashing. This is just the latest scuffle in what has become a lengthy battle over automated speed enforcement in the Hawkeye State. Note that many of the comments below from the highlighted speed trap towns reference abusive speed camera practices.

This information comes from the NMA’s National Speed Trap Exchange (http://www.speedtrap.org/), a unique website that gives drivers an opportunity to report on and exchange comments about predatory speed traps they have encountered on their travels.

Five Highest Activity Speed Trap Locations

1.     Fort Dodge:          All locations inside the city limits

175 Reports           98% Acknowledgement Rate*

“Mobile speed camera mounted on top of a white ford Explorer with no markings. This is not about law enforcement but for the revenue it produces for the city. Warning-they are having issues with the camera unit it seems to be giving out bogus speed readings on larger vehicles such as school buses and trucks.”

2.     Cedar Rapids:      I380 Through Cedar Rapids

109 Reports           97% Acknowledgement Rate

“There are two sign mounted speed cameras and one portable camera in use. The portable is in a red Jeep. Locals get caught by them too, if not careful. Posted limit is 55. It appears the cameras don’t “fire” until around 62 or 63. I set my cruse at 56-57 and rarely have anyone pass me. The cameras have nailed State VIP’s. There’s no exception, everyone gets treated the same. Local PD have been ticketed in their patrol cars.”

3.     Sioux City:           Interstate 29, mile marker 149.0

64 Reports             95% Acknowledgement Rate

Speed limit of 55 on the Interstate and Sioux City has a speed camera at that location.”

4.     Davenport:            2700 Brady Street northbound

63 Reports            95% Acknowledgement Rate

“I got a ticket in the mail with this address listed so there must be a camera there.”

5.     Muscatine:            Hwy 61 and University Rd (Menards Home Center)

60 Reports             97% Acknowledgement Rate

“Speed/Red Light/Turn on Red Camera Speed limit drops from HWY speed to 35-45. Does have signage for photo-enforced.”

Ten Iowa Cities with Most Reported Speed Traps (for the Last Five Years) 

Rank City Number of Speed Traps Acknowledgement Rate
1 Cedar Rapids 27 99%
2 Iowa City 8 97%
3 West Des Moines 6 94%
4 Davenport 6 96%
5 Muscatine 5 89%
6 Des Moines 5 90%
7 Lake City 5 90%
8 Burlington 4  85%
9 Ankeny 3 87%
10 Walcott 3 82%

* Acknowledgement rate is the percentage of yes votes to total votes by motorists indicating whether the reported locations, in their opinions, are actually speed traps. Data are available at the links provided.

About The National Speed Trap Exchange

With the development of The National Speed Trap Exchange (http://www.speedtrap.org/) more than 10 years ago, the National Motorists Association pioneered the use of interactive media to alert motorists to potential speed trap activity in their communities. Since then the site has reported on nearly 80,000 speed traps throughout the United States and Canada.

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