6/17/2006Iowa: ACLU Files Legal Challenge to Speed Cameras
The ACLU will represent a Davenport, Iowa man challenging the legality of the city speed camera program.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa announced on Wednesday that it would challenge the city of Davenport's speed camera program. The group's attorneys will argue that the camera program violates a state law requiring drivers receiving a ticket to be proven. They will also argue the system violates the constitutional right to due process.
"This is about government control more than citizen privacy," said Ben Stone, ACLU of Iowa's Executive Director. "We hope this case can provide a vehicle to help put the brakes on the idea that it's okay for computerized machines to control our lives."
ACLU officials cited evidence that red light cameras have increased accidents in a number of places where they are used -- especially Washington, DC. The Washington Post in October reported an 81 percent increase the the number of fatal and injury crashes at camera-controlled intersections. Stone suggested money, not safety, was the true motivation.
Davenport generated nearly $250,000 in revenue from a pair of speed cameras activated in January. A cut of this revenue goes to Redflex, the Australian company that operates the program.
The ACLU has successfully overturned the red light camera program in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a car seizure program that included red light camera tickets in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The trial of Davenport resident Thomas Seymour will begin early next month in the Iowa District Court for Scott County.