ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Drivers on their phones are easy to spot in Albuquerque, but how often do officers give them tickets? Even if it’s not an officer in front of them, most people won’t ever fess up to using their cell phones while driving.
“Not really,” Casey Lamoreaux said.
“Yes, at stop lights mostly,” Regan Cruz said.
“No. Never. Definitely not,” Ben Gibson said.
“It’s always a problem,” Gilbert Gallegos, Albuquerque Police Department spokesperson, said.
Within just one minute, at the intersection of Tingley and Central, KRQE News 13 cameras caught three different people talking on their cell phones.
“Distracted driving can cause someone’s death, unfortunately,” Gallegos said. But how often do drivers get caught and get cited for talking or texting while driving and not using a handsfree device?
In 2017, APD wrote 24 citations. Then, in 2018, officers wrote 23 citations. So far, in 2019, they’ve handed out five.
Those five drivers were all cited a week ago in different areas around town. APD said there’s a reason those numbers are so low; because when officers go to court it’s hard to prove.
“They have to prove that they were there and they witnessed them driving,” he said.
In some cases, that means police have to ask for a subpoena to help prove the driver was either texting or talking on the phone. However, APD said in coming years expect officers to hand out more tickets.
“As we get more officers on the streets we can do more proactive operations targeting that,” Gallegos said.
In Albuquerque, if you’re caught using your cell phone while driving without a hands-free device, it will cost you $100.