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City Begins Exploring Vision Zero’s Mobile Speed Enforcement Recommendation

Invites community input to shape policymaking on reducing speeding fatalities.

June 15, 2021

As part of its effort to improve road safety in the metro and equitably reduce the alarming numbers of traffic related fatalities and injuries, after months of community engagement, Vision Zero recommended that the City of Albuquerque explore mobile speed enforcement options. Today, Mayor Tim Keller with Councilor Brook Bassan, Councilor Klarissa Peña, Councilor Lan Sena, family members of speeding victim Erika Chavez, Vision Zero Coordinator Terra Reed, Managing City Attorney of Policy Jazmin Irazoqui-Ruiz, and community leaders began that process. Participants invited the entire Albuquerque community to weigh in to shape policymaking on reducing speeding fatalities.

Speeding is one of the most common concerns in Albuquerque, and has increased throughout the pandemic around the country, leading to tragic fatalities. Mobile speed enforcement devices like those used in other cities like Rio Rancho can be placed in high-risk areas where fatalities from speeding are common, including school zones.

"Our city has witnessed far too many traffic fatalities. It’s time we get serious about doing something about it,” said Mayor Keller. “We must have pragmatic solutions that will actually make speeders slow down and stop endangering our community. We’re starting the conversation and policymaking effort, while inviting the community to weigh in as we work to reduce fatalities and make our streets safer for everyone.”

The City is exploring the technology through an equity lens and using data to inform policy proposals. Early proposals, which the City is seeking public input on, include phasing the devices in and placing multilingual signs near their locations, which will rotate, to serve as a notice and a deterrent to speeders; identifying appropriate ticketing thresholds; issuing tickets as a civil citation like a parking ticket, not a criminal citation; having all citations reviewed by an officer; and giving speeders the option of paying the ticket or completing community service. The technology can serve as an unbiased enforcement mechanism, without saturating police officers in certain neighborhoods. Unlike “red light cameras,” the Mobile Speed Enforcement devices could only activate to capture speeding violations.

“There is a critical need to curb speeding in our city,” said APD Commander Joseph Viers. “Other cities station officers at dozens of speeding hotspots; that’s not the right solution for Albuquerque. We want to keep our officers focused on violent crime. We will continue giving speeding citations, but we believe that additional speeding enforcement can be effectively done without the presence of an officer and without diverting policing resources from other urgent priorities.”​

Councilors Brook Bassan, Klarissa Peña, and Lan Sena are co-sponsoring a resolution to begin the process of City Council consideration and public input.

“Speeding has been an issue in our collective districts, and really something all of Council has been working together on to figure out how we can become more proactive rather than reactive,” said Councilor Klarissa Peña. “This ordinance has come out of our collaborative discussions. I’m not sure what the end result will be but I think it will go a long way and something that needs to go forward.”

“This is a civil enforcement, not criminal, where we are seeking application of our speeding ordinance and traffic regulations,” said Councilor Lan Sena. “This is a way to mitigate the dangerous speeding that has been occurring throughout the city and takes away any bias that may occur because the speeding vans are automated. However, we look forward to the continued discussion with our community on what enforcement will look like and welcome everyone to the table.”

“Constituents regularly reach out to ask for assistance with the out-of-control speeding violations in our city,” said Councilor Brook Bassan. “Families are at risk, and our police department is working tirelessly to enforce our laws fairly and adequately. Automated speed enforcement is a positive approach to answer the pleas of our neighbors while allowing officers to focus on higher priority crimes. I am proud and excited to be a part of this approach in making our city safer while listening to our community."

“As residents, we all want to see an end to dangerous speeding and street racing,” said Dr. Peter Belletto, District 6 President. “It’s important that we, as community members, are involved in shaping the solutions as well. That’s why we’re urging everyone to provide input on this program.”

High speed driving is a serious safety issue that can result in more frequent and severe crashes. Reducing speeds is a critical component of the Vision Zero Action Plan, which lays out a framework for the road to zero traffic fatalities by the year 2040. Mobile speed enforcement would complement the ongoing traffic engineering, law enforcement, and education initiatives that the City is already undertaking to create safer streets for all.

“Speeding and traffic safety have to be looked at and addressed as a whole,” said Terra Reed, City of Albuquerque Vision Zero Coordinator. “the Vision Zero Action plan, a collaboration between City departments, agencies, and community partners, identified Mobile Speeding Enforcement as a key strategy, that when incorporated with other traffic calming measures that we are pursuing, represents a big step forward in encouraging safer driving.”

Automated methods increase road security, providing a layer of enforcement in a way that makes efficient use of resources and limits unnecessary police interactions with the public.

The recently launched Speeding Has A Name campaign is another way that the City is raising awareness about the dangers of speeding and honoring Burqueños killed by reckless drivers.

“If you know you have to be somewhere at a certain time, be wise and allow yourself time to make it there safely,” said Ruben De La Peña, cousin of speeding victim Erika Chavez. “Do not let your car become a deadly weapon by speeding. Be responsible now, and not when it’s too late.”

Traffic crashes in Albuquerque have increased at a notable rate, with a particularly concerning rise in pedestrian fatalities which have increased by a factor of four since 2010. Traffic safety is an essential component of overall public safety. Automated technologies and other speed mitigation tactics are all part of the holistic effort to build healthy, safe communities throughout the city.

There are many aspects from similar programs that the City is seeking input on. Community members can email [email protected] to provide initial input and receive updates on opportunities to participate. The City will also publish a community input form for the program in the coming days.