RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Getting pulled over for speeding in Rio Rancho is now costing drivers less after the city council lowered the speeding fines.
Many people told KRQE News 13 drivers go way too fast on major roads like 528, and were surprised to hear about the lower fines, which some said could make the problem worse.
“People just don’t care where other cars are,” driver Ronald Reynolds said.
“There’s always bad drivers in New Mexico,” Dylan Martinez of Rio Rancho said.
The changes that went into effect earlier this year reset the fines for its entire traffic code. Six months later, the changes came as a surprise to many drivers, including the fact the fines for speeding have been slashed by $10 to $25, depending on how far over you’re going.
“I thought we were trying to find more ways to cut down on speeding, not less,” Martinez said.
“It could have a lot of impact in somebody’s personal life or business,” Reynolds added.
City Councilor Bob Tyler sponsored the changes, saying the lower speeding fines make Rio Rancho’s rates more consistent with ones across the state. Rio Rancho Police said there hasn’t been a big change in its number of traffic stops since January.
“It hasn’t affected the amount of traffic stops that we conduct, generally speaking, and so I can’t say that this is sending a bad message,” RRPD Sgt. Peter Rogahn stated.
The changes did not affect the speed vans. People caught going more than 11 over the speed limit or more than 5 miles over in a school zone will get a $100 fine.
“The STOP program operates on a different penalty schedule,” Rogahn added.
The worst speeders—people caught going 36 miles an hour over the speed limit or more—will also get a $25 break, but their tickets are still costly at $395.
Rio Rancho’s updated traffic code did increase fines for other driving offenses like tailgating or blowing through a red light. Officials said it will help cover increased court costs.