“Automated Speed Enforcement,” looks to be coming (back) to City o’ Albuquerque, and you have questions. Maybe the first one is: How many hundred thousand speed vans can we get and can we put at least three of them on _________________________ between _______________________ and ____________________ (insert street masquerading as NASCAR track here)?
Excellent question, but you’ll need to avoid compound questions. So let’s break your question(s) down.
Q: How many speed vans/other points of automated enforcement will we get?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Can we put at least three of them on Street X?
A: I don’t know.
Thank you for your questions. I hope my answers have been informative.
No, we don’t know much yet on how CABQ will implement its return to some form of automated speed enforcement. We do know the last such attempt was killed through roll-out PR errors and that eternal group of citizens who think speeding and running red lights is a God-given right specified in the Constitution. Red light cameras (originally installed with added “speed detection” flavor crystals) were ultimately killed ten years ago through a low turnout referendum in which 53% voted for speeding, running red lights and general mayhem.
And that slim majority has gotten exactly what it wanted, apparently. Mayhem barely begins to describe ABQ streets in 2021, and time. countless crashes/deaths/serious injuries, and a bit of semantics (“automated speed enforcement”) has rekindled interest in such a program.
And this time two other important arguments/policies are integral to what seems to be a probable resurrection (heck, even the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board favors automated speed enforcement):
- Far better understanding by White Burqueans of what non-White folks have always known: Direct police enforcement of speeding and other minor violations involving traffic stops has historically been arbitrarily and disproportionately focused on poor neighborhoods of color, with far too many of these stops resulting in police harassment and violence.
- CABQ has recently committed to “Vision Zero,” that perhaps poorly named policy effort to enact measures that significantly increase traffic safety.
Added to other constant arguments, including chronic APD understaffing, the elements of political will and public outrage required seem to be in place. ABQ’s automated enforcement plan 2.0 might mirror that of adjacent northern neighbor Rio Rancho, where speed vans have operated for years (although its red light camera program was eventually yanked).
- It only busts drivers going 11 mph or more over the speed limit;
- Fines are only like parking violations in that they DO NOT add points for car insurance; and,
- There’s no mention of Star Trek laser beams emitted from the speed vans to incinerate speeding drivers/vehicles, so we’ll have to assume this essential enforcement tool is currently not in place.
While laser beams would be great, not dinging drivers with the seemingly eternal added costs of speeding on their car insurance rates, especially those going 11 mph over or more, is a serious weakness. Still, CABQ implementing an exact replica of Rio Rancho’s program would be a damn sight better than mayhem-filled status quo.
Especially if we could put
one three on *Rio Bravo Blvd. between Isleta and Coors Blvd.
*Damn, that’s in the County. Which brings up the question: What does BCSO Sherriff and ABQ mayoral candidate Manny Gonzales think about automated speed enforcement?