Cedar Rapids is the latest city to move toward red light cameras on its city streets. Sergeant Cristy Hamblin says the police department has chosen a Massachusetts company to supply the automated cameras.
Hamblin says she doesn’t remember if there is a set number of cameras, but they are going to try and put them in the areas where they have had the most accidents.
Hamblin says the police and traffic departments will be meeting with the company supplying the cameras to pick out the intersections where they cameras will go up. Hamblin says they decided to use the cameras in hopes of making intersections safer by reducing "angle crashes" where cars are hit in the side.
Hamblin says part of the issue is a preventative measure, but it also is intended to reduce the severity of the collisions. Hamblin says some opponents of the red light cameras say they will cause more rear-end collisions, but she says the statistics don’t show more rear-end collisions. Other critics say the cameras are just a way for the city to raise extra money.
Hamblin says safety is the first priority and they just hope to make enough money to pay for the cameras. "We really hope that if in fact if the public really wanted to show that this is wasn’t going to be a money maker — don’t run a red light. Because we’re not going to be generating money if they don’t run a red lights," Hamblin says. Hamblin says they hope to have the cameras operating in about one month.
Hamblin says they hope to have the lights installed and running by the middle of September. She says they will be doing a lot of education, and the first few weeks people will just get a letter telling them they were caught running a red light and will not have to pay a fine.
Hamblin says they hope the awareness created by the red light cameras will make people more careful overall when entering an intersection in the city.