The House Transportation Committee has endorsed the idea of imposing new limits on the fines charged to those caught on camera running a red light. If the bill becomes law, the fine in any Iowa city could be no more than $50.

The bill also would require the fines for those who’re caught on camera speeding to match the fines for speeding when you’re pulled over by a cop, deputy or trooper.

Representative Ralph Watts, a Republican from Adel, says it’s time for some consistency. “As we looked at this process, as a committee, it was obvious that red light cameras and speed control devices were all over the board across the state in how the fines were levied and the enforcement and how it was handled through the various cities,” Watts says.

The bill also would require signs be posted on the approach to stoplight intersections which are monitored by a red-light camera and signs would have to be posted along streets or highways which are monitored by cameras taking photos of speeding vehicles. “There is a wide variety of signage for these sites, and we felt that the signage should be consistent with your normal traffic-control signage,” Watts says.

A panel in the Iowa Senate earlier rejected a bill that would have completely banned red-light cameras altogether. Critics say they’ll seek major changes in this alternative proposal when the bill comes up for debate in the House. Red light camera violations are civil, not criminal cases and the fine is assessed to the vehicle’s owner, who may not necessarily be the driver.