Sioux City police haven’t been stopped from issuing tickets from speed cameras to South Dakota drivers despite the state’s move to block access to addresses of drivers through a state system. Assistant City Attorney Justin Vondrak says citations have continued without really slowing down.
He says they are still able to get addresses from vehicles with South Dakota license plates and they send them tickets if they run red lights or exceed the speed limit.
Vondrak says city police issued about 280 tickets to vehicles registered in South Dakota in January and February, compared to 267 during roughly the same period in 2015.
“This year there were 29 days in February, which may indicate the reason why there were a few more vehicles caught,” Vondrak says. “Right now it looks to us that the same amount of vehicles were actually observed exceeding the speed limit in Sioux City — those vehicles driving from the State of South Dakota.”
Vondrak defends the cameras, saying the city has seen a drop in overall speeding since the traffic cameras were implemented. “Sioux City is one of the safest places in Iowa in relation to speed-related deaths. We would attribute that to our photo enforcement efforts on the interstate to actually slow vehicles down,” Vondrak says. “Before implementation of the camera program, 38 percent of the vehicles traveled were exceeding 11 miles over the speed limit. Currently we are catching less than one percent of drivers. So, we believe it is a huge success.”
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard’s office said in January that the state would block access to drivers’ addresses in a database that police had used to find those caught on camera. A 2014 law bars South Dakota from sharing driver information for use collecting a civil fine for infractions captured on camera.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City