Traffic camera in Des Moines.

A bid to ban cameras that catch red-light-runners and speeders is gathering steam at the statehouse.

The House Transportation Committee today voted for the ban and the bill is headed for debate in the full House.

Representative Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubuque who is a member of the committee, would like to see limits on what motorists caught by the cameras can be charged, but without a consensus on that, he’s backing the ban.

“We have cities that have fines that are much higher than regular speeding tickets. Some are $75 and $100. Other ones are $200. There’s even reports of one community that has $300 tickets for running red lights,” Murphy says. “We’ve got to get this under control and I would support a ban before I’d let it go unfettered.”

Murphy is also concerned that the tickets and fines issued via these cameras are handled differenty than tickets handed out cops who pull people over for speeding.

“They go to collection agencies,” Murphy says, “and the way that they collect money is much more — I think most Iowans would find it offensive.”

Murphy once got a traffic ticket from Ottumwa in the mail — but he hadn’t been in Ottumwa for over a year.

“We are finding out there’s lots of errors made,” Murphy says. “And people are just paying the fines.”

Murphy wonders about the calibration of the stationary cameras, too, as the speed guns police and state troopers use are reset frequently.