from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D.
cities appeal a district court order upholding administrative
rules issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.
Michelle R. Mackel-Wiederanders and Carol J. Moser, Des
Moines, Douglas A. Fulton, Matthew S. Brick, and Erin M.
Clanton of Brick Gentry, P.C., West Des Moines, Elizabeth D.
Jacobi and James H. Flitz, Cedar Rapids, for appellants.
J. Miller, Attorney General, David S. Gorham, Special
Assistant Attorney General, and Richard E. Mull, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellees.
determine whether the Iowa Department of Transportation
(IDOT) had the statutory authority to promulgate
administrative rules regulating automated traffic enforcement
(ATE) systems located along primary roads. See Iowa
Admin. Code ch. 761-144 (2014). The enforcement of these
rules resulted in three cities being ordered to relocate or
remove several of their ATE cameras.
issue presented is the reach of the administrative state:
Before the executive branch can adopt a rule with the force
and effect of law, how much groundwork must be laid by the
legislative branch? After all, article III, section 1 states
that "[t]he legislative authority of this state shall be
vested in a general assembly . . ."-not the executive
branch. Iowa Const. art. III, § 1. Article III, section
1 also states that "no person charged with the exercise
of powers properly belonging to one of these departments
shall exercise any function appertaining to either of the
others, except in cases hereinafter expressly directed or
review, we find that the IDOT did not have authority from the
legislature to issue rules regulating ATE systems. The
IDOT's specific grants of authority are in other areas
and do not support the rules. Moreover, any general authority
over "regulation and improvement of transportation"
is too broad to sustain the rules-particularly in light of
the specific grants of authority in other areas. See
Iowa Code § 307.2 (2013). Accordingly, we conclude the
rules are invalid and cannot be enforced against the cities.
Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the district court and
remand for further proceedings.
Facts and Procedural Background.
dispute is between the IDOT and three cities-Cedar Rapids,
Des Moines, and Muscatine (the Cities). The Cities have
installed ATE systems on primary roads within their
boundaries. The IDOT has sought to regulate and limit
those ATE systems through administrative rules.
The Installation of the Cities' ATE Systems.
2014, the IDOT had no formal rules governing ATE systems but
instead relied on informal guidelines. In 2010, working
within these guidelines, Cedar Rapids obtained the IDOT's
written agreement that the city could install ATE equipment.
Cedar Rapids placed these systems in various locations within
its city limits. These places included Interstate 380 and 1st
Avenue East at the intersection of 10th Street. Both I-380
and 1st Avenue East are considered primary roads.
in 2011, Muscatine also obtained the IDOT's written
agreement to install ATE equipment within its limits,
following a study of accident data and speeding and red-light
surveys. The locations included two intersections along
Highway 61, a primary road.
that year, Des Moines also received IDOT's agreement that
it could install ATE cameras to monitor red-light running and
speeding. These included an ATE system to detect speeding
vehicles traveling eastbound on Interstate 235, between 42nd
Street and Polk Boulevard. I-235 is also a primary road. The
specific location on I-235 was chosen because of traffic
flow, highway grade, and layout, which the city maintained
made it more difficult for officers to monitor speed safely
from their patrol cars.
IDOT's standard agreements-which each of the Cities
executed- stated that the agency reserved the right to
"[r]equire the removal of such traffic control device
upon thirty days' written notice. Either lack of
supervision, inadequate enforcement, unapproved operation, or
intolerable congestion shall be considered sufficient reason
to require removal."
The IDOT's Rulemaking.
October 2, 2013, the IDOT commenced a rulemaking proceeding
to regulate and restrict ATE placement and usage on primary
roadways. See Iowa Code § 17A.4. In accordance
with requirements of the Iowa Administrative Procedures Act,
the IDOT published proposed rules and accepted written
comments on them. See id. §
other things, the proposed rules provided that ATE systems
"shall only be considered after other engineering and
enforcement solutions have been explored and implemented,
" "should not be used as a long-term solution for
speeding or red-light running, " and "should only
be considered in extremely limited situations on interstate
roads because they are the safest class of any roadway in the
state and they typically carry a significant amount of
non-familiar motorists." Notice of Intended Action,
Admin. Rules Review Comm. 1037C (IDOT Oct. 2, 2013),
proposed rules also required advance approval by the IDOT and
a detailed "justification report" for any ATE
system. Thereafter, localities would be required to submit
detailed annual evaluations to assist the IDOT in
reevaluating each ATE system and deciding whether to allow
its continued use.
comments were submitted expressing sharply divergent
viewpoints. Most commenters did not discuss the actual
rules but addressed the pros and cons of ATE systems
generally. For example:
"I strongly support the use of traffic cameras in Cedar
Rapids-specifically on I380. They are working!"
"In general, I am against the indiscriminate use of
'spy cameras' as a means to collect massive fines
"I like the idea of traffic cameras for speeding and red
lights. I believe they do help to sa[v]e lives."
"I am in total agreement of getting rid of photo
enforced speed cameras in Iowa. It is an invasion of privacy.
Thank you for using common sense on this issue."
"I welcome fewer restrictions on the
installation of speed and red-light cameras. It's the
easiest way to keep drivers honest and legal. And that's
good for everyone."
"I am totally against traffic cameras and think they
should be outlawed."
"Anything to get people to obey traffic laws is a good
thing, even if it is unpopular. Calling the cameras
distracting to drivers just to get rid of them is a cheap
shot. KEEP THE CAMERAS."
"I see ABSOLUTELY NO value in traffic cameras placed on
commenters offered more specific suggestions. One commenter
[s]peed cameras should not be placed where there is a sudden
reduction in the speed limit. It is dangerous to have a speed
sign reducing speed a short distance from the camera. The
locals know to reduce their speed and start slamming on
[their brakes], which is not safe for traffic.
the same lines, another commenter recommended "that the
Department additionally restrict ATEs' placement in
locations where a higher speed zone is transitioning to a
lower speed zone." Yet another commenter proposed that
ATE systems "[n]ot be placed within 1, 000 feet of
either side of a posted speed limit sign."
October 30, the IDOT held a public hearing to afford
interested persons an opportunity to speak out on the
proposed rules. At the hearing, representatives of the
Cities, in addition to other officials and members of the
public, made oral presentations. A total of thirteen persons
the subject of limiting the use of speed cameras within a
certain distance of new speed limits came up. For example,
one speaker expressed concerns about municipalities
installing ATE systems "in areas where the speed is
going from a faster speed zone to a slower speed zone . . .
because those are areas where more people are likely to slam
on their brakes, and it would be . . . more dangerous."
IDOT held a subsequent meeting on December 10 to present the
final rules and detail the feedback it had received
throughout the process. At this time, the IDOT unveiled
modifications to the rules. These included a "1000-foot
rule"-i.e., that ATE equipment could not be stationed
within 1000 feet of a speed limit change. The IDOT explained
that this modification was in response to prior comments.
other respects, the final rules mirrored the initial rules
the IDOT had proposed in October. Thus, all ATE locations on
the primary road system had to be approved by the IDOT. Iowa
Admin. Code r. 761- 144.4(3). The final rules contained a
requirement that any "local jurisdiction requesting to
use an automated traffic enforcement system on the primary
road shall provide the department a justification
report." Id. r. 761-144.5(1). Such report
needed to include documentation as to "why the area is a
high-crash or high-risk location." Id. r.
761-144.5(1)(a). According to the rules, ATE systems
"should only be considered in extremely limited
situations on interstate roads because they are the safest
class of any roadway in the state and they typically carry a
significant amount of non-familiar motorists."
Id. r. 761-144.4(1)(c). After the ATE
equipment was installed, the rules required "each local
jurisdiction with active automated enforcement on Iowa's
primary highway system [to] evaluate the effectiveness of its
use" on an ongoing basis. Id. r. 761- 144.7(1).
The annual evaluation must
(1) Address the impact of automated enforcement technology on
reducing speeds or the number of red-light running violations
for those sites being monitored.
(2) Identify the number and type of collisions at the sites
being monitored, listing comparison data for before-and-after
years. If the system includes intersection enforcement, only
the monitored approaches should be included in the
(3) Evaluate and document the automated traffic enforcement
system's impact on addressing the critical traffic safety
issue(s) listed in the justification report if a
justification report was part of the system's initial
(4) Provide the total number of citations issued for each
calendar year the system has been in operation.
(5) Certify that the calibration requirements of subrule
144.6(4) have been met.
Id. r. 761-144.7(1)(a).
IDOT would determine whether use of the ATE system would
continue. Id. r. 761-144.8. "Continued use
[would] be contingent on the effectiveness of the system,
appropriate administration of it by the local jurisdiction,
the continued compliance with these rules, changes in traffic
patterns, infrastructure improvements, and implementation of
other identified safety countermeasures." Id.
r. 761-144.8(1). Additionally, the department explicitly
"reserve[d] the right to require removal or modification
of a system in a particular location, as deemed
appropriate." Id. r. 761-144.8(2). The rules
became effective February 12, 2014.
The IDOT's Subsequent Directives to Remove Certain ATE
the ATE rules became effective, each city submitted an
evaluation to the IDOT in an effort to justify the continued
presence of the cameras. Cedar Rapids provided crash data
showing that crashes at 1st Avenue and 10th Street had
remained roughly constant since the installation of the ATE
systems. However, on I-380 there had been declines both in
overall crashes and, especially, personal injury crashes.
Whereas one fatal crash had occurred in 2008 and two in 2009,
no fatal crashes had occurred in the relevant area of I-380
since the ATE cameras were installed.
reported that totaling the five intersections where ATE
equipment had been installed, crashes had declined
significantly overall. In 2010, there had been thirty-four
motor vehicle crashes including nine injury crashes; by
contrast, during the year 2013, there had been nineteen
crashes, of which four were injury crashes.
Moines's report also argued that its ATE systems had had
a positive safety impact. Regarding the I-235 location, the
report concluded that "the total number of accidents on
I-235 in this area (4700 block to 4200 block) have ...