Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said during a radio interview this week that is the Iowa legislature sends a bill banning traffic cameras to his desk, he’ll definitely sign it.

While some states have embraced traffic cameras, either cameras that track speeders or those at intersections which catch people who run red lights, as a means of creating a safer driving environment and a way of generating a little extra revenue without putting more cops on the streets, Iowa has legislators have been trying to get them removed.

Public opinion about traffic cameras in Iowa seems evenly split, although not along party lines as some issues are. Both Republican and Democratic legislators have alternately tried and failed to get measures passed which made traffic cameras illegal. Some have gone after just red light cameras, while others have targeted all forms of traffic cameras as a an infringement upon civil liberties. There is a currently a measure up for discussion which would actually write the statewide ban of traffic cameras into the Iowa state constitution, although that measure has so far failed to garner enough support for that to happen.

Branstad takes the position that if the legislature can agree on a bill, they likely have the support of their constituents behind them, meaning a majority of the people of state of Iowa feel the cameras are too intrusive, so he would therefore want to support the will of the people.

However, supporters of traffic cameras say the automated devices help control traffic, keep speeding to a minimum and make the streets a safer place without the need for more patrols. They also point to the increased revenues collected by those communities which have installed traffic cameras at key intersections or in areas where speeding has become common place. These people say the issue is not about infringing on the rights of certain drivers, but about protecting everyone who takes to the streets in their car, or even those who walk or ride bikes along road ways.

So far no bill, either for or against traffic cameras has made it passed both houses, and Branstad seems unlikely to see a bill placed before him any time soon. But both sides continue to push hard for the state to make a stand somewhere.

Image: Stuart Miles /