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Slow down or pay up: In just over four months, nearly 40,000 speeders caught on LeClaire cameras
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Slow down or pay up: In just over four months, nearly 40,000 speeders caught on LeClaire cameras

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A speed camera on the 2300 block of South Cody Road in LeClaire, Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

In just over four months, LeClaire has issued more than 39,000 citations to motorists caught on the city's two speed-enforcement cameras.

In January, offenders were issued warnings, but the system went live on March 6. From that date until July 16, 39,015 fines have been levied, totaling $2,749,775. As a comparison, Davenport's eight automated-enforcement locations generated about $1.5 million in citation revenue during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

One of LeClaire's cameras is on Interstate 80, just before the I-80 bridge. The other is in the 2300 block of Highway 67, or South Cody Road. They measure the speed of vehicles traveling in both directions.

LeClaire's city clerk, Tracy Northcutt, said the traffic-safety impact of the system had not yet been analyzed. 

While automated enforcement often is unpopular among the motoring public and some criticize the cameras as mere money grabs, the number of violations suggest a credible speeding problem.

LeClaire police say they already knew that.

When the cameras were introduced in January, Police Chief Shane Themas said the city was targeting high-risk areas where crash numbers were attributed to speeding.

"In the last 10 years, there have been a total of 334 vehicular accidents on I-80 and Highway 67, just within our corporate city limits," Themas said. "These have included a total of 552 vehicles, three fatalities and over 115 injuries."

Citations are issued in five categories for speed over the posted limit: 6 to 10 mph; 11 to 20 mph; 21 to 25 mph; 26 to 30 mph and over 30 mph above the posted speed.

While speeds exceeding the posted limit by 1 to 5 mph is included in the list of infractions, no citations were issued for that category. The highest number of citations, by far, is for speeds between 11 and 20 mph over the limit, with 30,951 tickets for $75 each. That's more than $2.3 million in fines. 

Northcutt said it was too soon to say what percentage of the fines had or would be paid. The revenue will go into LeClaire's general fund, she said, adding that the city council has not yet decided how the money will be spent.

In many cities in Iowa, all or most of the enforcement-camera revenue is used for public safety costs.

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