Two ABQ city councilors want to bring back red light cameras

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque got rid of the city’s red light cameras years ago, but two city councilors want to bring them back. But not everyone is ready to give their plan the green light, including Albuquerque Police.

City Councilor Isaac Benton said after Albuquerque got rid of the red light cameras at traffic stops, some drivers are taking advantage of it by running the red.

“To me, the driving behavior has gotten a lot worse since then,” said Councilor Benton.

It didn’t take long for KRQE News 13’s cameras to find some of those red-light runners. Video shows a handful of drivers on Tingley and Central running the red to make it through the intersection. Over on Unser and Montano, KRQE News 13 caught more red-light runners and the same by Carlisle and I-40.

To put an end to this kind of driving, Councilors Trudy Jones and Isaac Benton asked Albuquerque Police to see if there’s a way to bring back the cameras.

“I think they really helped with red light running and speeding, which are capable of recording both at those locations,” said Councilor Benton.

Police looked at a possible photo enforcement ordinance, legal fees and seeing how APD would be involved in the red light camera program among other things. But after looking into it, APD said it does not support bringing back the cameras, citing concerns they would be unconstitutional.

People who KRQE News 13 spoke with are split on the idea.

“It makes people accountable for their actions, and also, causes them to think about running lights,” said local Bob Oberer. He wants the cameras to come back.

“It seems a little unjust,” said local Taylor Luca, who is against having the cameras come back. “The cameras won’t have the best judgment a human will make.”

This is just an idea the councilors were tossing around. Right now, there’s no official plan on bringing back the cameras.

The city said it issued $53-million worth of red light camera tickets before the program ended in 2011. The program cost the city about $26 million to run.

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