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November 20, 2012 05:18 PM

Speed Cameras Surprise Drivers In Sioux City

Sioux City, IA

Depending on where you are on Interstate 29, you could get in trouble for speeding and not even know it until the ticket arrives in the mail.

Speed cameras are slowing down traffic in Sioux City, Iowa.

Before the speed cameras were set out, more than 38 percent of the people going through Sioux City on Interstate 29 were driving more than 10 miles per hour faster than the posted speed limit.  And with the large road construction project in the area, police turned to technology to safely enforce the speed limits.

More than half a million cars travel Interstate 29 through Sioux City during any given month of the year. In the past, hundreds of thousands of them were speeding. Two mobile speed cameras have changed that.

"Most fatalities on the interstate involve speed and by reducing speed, we have seen a decrease in accidents that are serious or fatal," Sioux City police captain Marti Reilly said.

Reilly leads the Sioux City police team that works with the speed cameras. Each camera takes a video and two photos of each car that speeds past. The driver then receives his or her ticket in the mail a few weeks later. 

While the goal of the speed cameras is to slow traffic down, one motorist says it only slows people down until they find the camera and then they speed up afterwards.

"The only time I see traffic slow down is when they're about to pass them. Right when they pass, then I see traffic speed right back up," Dakota Dunes resident Tallie Dunn said.

Jason Mork of McCook Lake wants safe roads, but isn't sure he likes the idea of the camera system.

"I'm sure everyone has an excuse for why they are speeding but I guess I'm more of a face-to-face guy anyway. So I'd like to see a person," Mork said.

Reilly says the speed cameras are not popular because instead of a handful of drivers being pulled over by a uniformed officer, the cameras are much more thorough and the tickets may come as a surprise.

"Their odds of getting a citation go up dramatically if we use technology to enforce traffic laws. So they don't like it because they get caught more often," Reilly said.

After having the speed cameras in place for the last two years, the number of drivers clocked going more than 10 over the posted limit has dropped to less than one percent.

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