New Traffic Cameras Installed in Des Moines; Drivers Beware

Des Moines city officials have taken a new approach to improving traffic safety. Red-light cameras were recently installed throughout various locations in Des Moines to catch drivers speeding or running red lights.

The cameras were installed during the first week of June and placed at the five most congested and dangerous intersections in Des Moines. Additionally, a speed camera was also mounted along I-235.

Drivers caught on camera during the first 30 days of the initiative received only warnings. Today, however, drivers can expect a fine. In addition to running red lights and speeding, drivers will receive a citation for creeping up and crossing the solid white bar painted on the pavement, called the "stop bar."

The decision to implement cameras in Des Moines came after the cameras' success in Clive, Iowa. Clive has taken in an extra $60,000 a month after adding three new cameras last year.

Along with reducing Iowa motor vehicle accidents, Des Moines officials also hope the initiative will generate money for the city similar to Clive. In 2009 the police department estimated that each camera could potentially earn $100,000 each year.

However, research shows that over time, high revenues from fines will eventually diminish. Drivers will take note of red light camera locations, pay more attention and avoid speeding or breaking the law (especially if they've been fined).

It remains to be seen whether the initiative is a success in improving traffic safety and bringing in additional revenue for the city-both for the short and long term. Hopefully, we will see greater compliance with traffic safety laws and a decline in the number of injury causing motor vehicle accidents.