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.