Speed cameras in Cedar Rapids.

Data collected this month shows 79 percent of drivers on a section of interstate that passes through Cedar Rapids were speeding at least 12 miles an hour above the posted limit. The data comes from traffic enforcement cameras.

The cameras were no longer issuing tickets, but were left on to capture data. Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman says an “alarming rate” of drivers were speeding.

“The drivers of these vehicles, I do not know if they are aware or if they care that they are putting other lives at risk, to include their own,” Jerman says.

In late April, a judge ruled the Iowa DOT had the authority over where speed cameras may be placed along interstates. The DOT ordered that traffic cameras placed along the S-curve of Interstate-380 that runs through downtown Cedar Rapids be shut off, along with a handful of other cameras located along interstates in other metro areas. Cedar Rapids left its cameras on and one camera clocked a vehicle going 102 miles an hour.

“Through that stretch of roadway, the speed limit is 55 for a reason and going almost double 55 miles an hour is just insane,” Jerman says.

This week, a judge has ordered Cedar Rapids to turn off the traffic enforcement cameras. Cedar Rapids may appeal that decision. Jerman says this new data in Cedar Rapids showing driving speeds increased once the cameras no longer issued tickets shows traffic enforcement cameras help reduce speeds.

“It’s all about public safety,” Jerman says. “The evidence is overwhelming.”

Jerman says it’s “extremely hazardous” for his officers to pull vehicles over on the portion of interstate that runs through downtown Cedar Rapids, plus traffic stops on that S-curve can cause other drivers to “panic” and cause accidents.