Traffic cameras become Cedar Rapids crash witnesses

2010-08-15T08:00:00Z Traffic cameras become Cedar Rapids crash witnesses Mason City Globe Gazette
August 15, 2010 8:00 am

CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) - Besides catching red-light runners and speeders, Cedar Rapids' newly installed traffic cameras also act as unbiased witnesses to accidents, police say.

Recently, two drivers crashed into each other at an intersection monitored at all times by a traffic camera. The camera was rolling at the time, which could help a teenage driver contest her ticket.

A 16-year-old girl said her car stalled at the intersection and when she finally got it going again, the light had turned red and she was in the middle of oncoming traffic.

The teen got a ticket, but can use the video to back up her story in court.

"The cameras are a witness and their view is not blocked in any way," police Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said.

Cedar Rapids police have caught about a half-dozen crashes on tape since installing the cameras at the beginning of the year. Police say the cameras help them get an accurate picture of what actually happens in a crash, which allows police to rely less on witness testimony.

"We had another instance in which both parties said, ‘I had a green light.' Lo and behold, they both did have a green light. There was a malfunction," Hamblin said.

Without the cameras, no one would have believed that both lights were green.

While drivers don't enjoy getting caught speeding or running red lights, many seem to like this feature.

"I think it helps the police determine who's wrong and who's at fault," said Patience Miller of Hiawatha.

Copyright 2015 Mason City Globe Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. Another Day Older
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    Another Day Older - August 15, 2010 6:02 pm
    What you all and the story writer here are missing is the falability of machines/technology. And the cameras can be just as unreliable as any other equipment, but then try to fight that in court. Most people wouldn't/won't and that's where the problem lays. No, we don't need camera's. And no, I'm not a paranoid right wing birther who sees black SUVs around every corner - I just don't like the overreliance we're moving toward on unreliable technology to judge our lives/behavior.
  2. Arthur
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    Arthur - August 15, 2010 4:42 pm
    It is a gargantuan step between the “big government” of Cedar Rapids positioning cameras at traffic intersections and an evil central government posting cameras at each citizen’s door and window for the purpose of controlling people or “help take care of you -- cradle to grave”.

    I seriously doubt that such an intrusion of everyone’s home to “record everything that we do” would be approved by the electorate and the judiciary.
  3. JB Johnson of Britt
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    JB Johnson of Britt - August 15, 2010 1:25 pm
    and if that camera got a view of your front door? Would you want everyone to see who came to visit and what time you were home or gone?
  4. rivercityfan
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    rivercityfan - August 15, 2010 10:58 am
    One more good reason to have the cameras. Record away as long it's in public. If they're not in your home what's the beef?
  5. niowaguy
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    niowaguy - August 15, 2010 10:10 am
    Yes -- let's try to make more excuses for big government recording everything we do.

    They will continue to find reasons why these cameras are so great so government can help take care of you -- cradle to grave!

    Iowa! Let's return to our motto and protect our civil liberties by outlawing these cameras -- "Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain"!
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