ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Automated speed enforcement cameras are poised to return to the streets of Albuquerque by winter. Mayor Tim Keller signed the legislation during a news conference Friday afternoon, while also highlighting new data showing how fast some drivers are going on major roadways.
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The newly signed legislation will create the “Automated Speed Enforcement Program” for Albuquerque, allowing for roadside cameras to take pictures of speeding drivers, then send fines in the mail. According to a news release from City Council, the program will issue $100 fines to violators. If a camera catches a speeding driver, an APD officer will review camera footage to verify if a speeding violation happened before any fine is sent.
Albuquerque Police highlighted the city’s continued speed problem with new statistics shared Friday. Earlier this month, the city set up speed measuring cameras (which didn’t issue tickets) along Montgomery and Gibson for a ten-day stretch. Between October 1 and 10, more than 331,000 vehicles passed in front of the cameras.
On Gibson where the posted speed limit is 40 miles-per-hour, more than 216,000 cars passed the speed measuring cameras. The fastest speed was a car clocked at 111 miles per hour. More than 104,000 vehicles were going between 50 and 64 miles per hour, roughly 48 percent of the vehicles measured on Gibson.
On Montgomery, the fastest car was clocked at 106 miles per hour. More than 84,000 cars were captured on the speed cameras. More than 12,000 were going between 50 and 64 miles per hour. All data was provided by Albuquerque Police.
Under the new speed camera ordinance, if the officer determines a violation occurred, a fine notice will be sent to the address of the registered owner of the vehicle on file with the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department (MVD.) That notice will include the date of violation, type of violation, license plate number of the vehicle, name, and ID of the issuing police officer, amount of fine, response due date and return address.
The notice will also inform the registered owner of the right to request a hearing. If the registered owner was not the driver at the time of the alleged violation, the owner will have to file an owner’s affidavit, naming who was driving the vehicle.
The final legislation also included an amendment from city councilors, allowing for violations to be served through community service in lieu of a fine. So far, the city hasn’t picked a vendor who will run the new program. Like the city’s old red-light traffic, the tickets would be civil citations.
The return of speed enforcement cameras first started to take shape in the summer of 2021 after the mayor and city councilors held a joint news conference saying the city’s speeding problem has continued to get worse. Northeast Albuquerque City Councilor Brooke Bassan was among those endorsing the measure, saying “breaking the law should have consequences and right now the consequences are tragic and there are people dying from these people that are speeding.”
Alongside Bassan, Albuquerque City Councilors Klarissa Peña, Lan Sena and Isaac Benton co-endorsed the ordinance that passed city council on October 5. In the final vote, Councilor Pat David was the only councilor to vote against the ordinance. On Twitter, Davis defended his vote, writing in part, “I can’t vote for giving a for-profit company a profit for policing. Getting a bill in the mail 3 weeks later doesn’t stop a bad driver in the moment.”