New legislation details rules for Albuquerque speed vans

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There are more details on the city’s push to bring back speed vans. A new bill spells out how much a ticket would cost and how drivers can fight those tickets. The bill’s sponsors say this draft is just a starting point and they plan on making changes after hearing from the public.

The council bill doesn’t specify how many speed vans the city is planning for. Albuquerque City Councilor Brook Bassan says they could start out with two or three and then buy more if needed.

“What we’re looking into is mobile, so we can move them around. So when there’s maybe one problem area that we have and we see a minimization in the amount of excessive speeding there, we can move on to somewhere else,” Bassan says.

Under the proposal, a private company would operate the cameras, but an Albuquerque Police officer would review the footage and sign off on the violation. A $100 civil fine would be mailed to the registered owner of the car. The bill says if the registered owner wasn’t driving the car at the time, they can identify the person who was and a ticket will be sent to them.

“The $100 fine could also mean community service as an option. I think that the specifics of what the penalty may be for these citations is still kind of in flux and something we’re going to be working on,” Bassan said.

The city believes the speed vans will help free up officers to tackle the city’s crime problem. “Traffic stops are one of the more dangerous things calls an officer can respond to. I think putting the speed vans out and getting them to really focus in on their job as guardians of the city as those that are really focused in on our crime,” said City Councilor Lan Sena.

Councilors say they’ll hold at least one town hall meeting on the idea next month. No word on when city council could vote on this. The mayor backs the idea.

Back in 2009 under Governor Bill Richardson, the state passed a law to keep Albuquerque from using its red-light cameras as a money maker. Under the law, New Mexico cities with more than 200,000 people, which would only be Albuquerque, could only use money from speed and red-light cameras to pay for those programs. The rest had to go to the state. The law also capped Albuquerque’s camera fines at $100.

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