Aleksey Gurtovoy of Stop Big Brother, a group that successfully lobbied Iowa City to ban traffic cameras last month, said it undermines claims by supporters of photo enforcement who argue that removing the human element leads to a fairer system.
"In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true: substituting a human witness for a machine makes it easier to both silently 'game' the system and get away with it," Gurtovoy wrote in an email.
The data comes amid continuing fallout from an April 26 speeding incident in which a trooper driving Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds was clocked driving 84 mph by another trooper but wasn't stopped. Responding officers were confused during the pursuit because the vehicle's plate wasn't on file.
The Department of Public Safety is investigating the actions of the two troopers. A third investigator involved, DCI Special Agent in Charge Larry Hedlund, was placed on administrative leave May 1, days after he filed an internal complaint in which he warned that the governor's speed compromised safety. Hedlund's attorney contends his removal from duty was retaliation, but the agency says it is investigating potential rules violations that are unrelated.
Branstad has said the speed was too fast, and his administration is reviewing scheduling policies to ensure that it doesn't happen again.