As a community that straddles two states, we have our eyes focused westward for the fallout from a new law in South Dakota that protects its residents from Iowa traffic camera tickets.
The law prohibits the South Dakota government from enforcing fines levied on its residents as a result of automated cameras.
As Times Des Moines Bureau Chief Mike Wiser noted in his story last week, South Dakota courts are not allowed to file wage garnishments, file reports with credit bureaus or otherwise be used in the collection of fines from speed camera violations.
The law is aimed squarely at Sioux City, Iowa, one of several Iowa communities, including Davenport, that have speed cameras. Sioux City is on the Iowa-South Dakota border, and like our own bi-state community, workers, shoppers and tourists freely travel between the states.
Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young said the law “is a slap in the face of interstate cooperation between law enforcement agencies.”
We routinely witness that cooperation in traffic and criminal cases that involve both Iowa and Illinois jurisdictions.
Can you imagine if Iowans were immune from prosecution if they broke a traffic law in Illinois? Let’s take the relatively new Illinois law requiring only hands-free cellphone use.
“Sorry, officer, I’m from Iowa. Take your ticket elsewhere.”
Illinoisans have paid their share of traffic tickets from the Davenport cameras. A story we published in 2012 indicated that 26.5 percent of the notices were mailed to Illinois addresses, compared to 66 percent in Iowa and 7.5 percent to other states.
Last week, a news report pointed to the cooperation among Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire for cracking down on their own residents who blow through tolls in the other states. Their agreement was hailed as a model for interstate cooperation as electronic tolling continues to grow.
South Dakota has an aversion to traffic cameras. Its legislature banned them in that state. It has a right to do that.
It has no business shielding its citizens from abiding by traffic laws set by other states.
April 7, 2014