By on May 12, 2010

The Las Cruces, New Mexico city council voted Monday to partially obey a New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to remove red light cameras and speed cameras from the state right-of-way by May 18. State officials are concerned with the negative impact that the devices have on safety, but Las Cruces officials emphasized the need to “work around” the state in expanding the red light camera program even though the city has seen an increase in accidents where photo enforcement has been installed.
“I don’t think we want to go to court with DOT commissioners over the red light cameras at Solano and Main,” City Councilor Dolores Connor said. “I guess we need to abide with their rules and move off of that location.”

Currently, Redflex runs the dual speed and red light cameras at four locations. The council agreed to ask Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian company that owns and operates the cameras, to deactivate the intersection of Main Street and Solano Drive. Although NMDOT ordered cameras down at the lucrative Valley Drive and Avenida de Mesilla intersection, Las Cruces will only take one of them down, claiming that a second device is located within the city’s jurisdiction. It will also add mobile speed camera vans to increase the number of citations issued citywide.

The safety results do not appear to provide a basis for expansion. Comparing a year’s worth of data before the devices were installed at three intersections to a year after, the number of collisions increased 13 percent from 53 to 60. The largest increase was in property damage accidents while injury collisions did not reduce significantly. The numbers would have looked even worse had the city included results from the intersection of Lohman and Telshor where officials claimed “construction” caused the significant increase in accidents. On the other hand, the city finance department estimated that the cameras would generate $5,012,847 in revenue through fiscal 2011.

Although most of the city council supports photo enforcement, Redflex has lost so many camera contracts this year that it would likely exercise its contract to prevent the city from ending the camera program entirely.

“We are very interested in working with the city,” Redflex account director Bob Warner said. “If the city were to take the position that they would not want to continue with the cameras, that would have to be something our executive committee would have to take a look at.”


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12 Comments on “New Mexico: City Expands Traffic Cameras Despite Accident Increase...”

  • avatar

    Sigh….. and to think I cheered when the state legislature outlawed the devices within state right of ways. Albuquerque decided to almost entirely end it’s program after the ruling.

    So lets see, they continue the program although it increased accidents? I guess it really is “The Crosses.”

  • avatar

    Keep in mind that ABQ reprogrammed its red-light cameras to measure speed too. It’s especially the pits along Coors, where next to nobody drives the posted 45.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for the heads up, I’m absolutely shocked that in my 8 years living in this state (in Gallup) and going to ABQ several times a year, every ticket I’ve been issued has been by an actual human being.

    • 0 avatar

      I got two photos for $75 each: one at S-bend of I-25 and another from a red-light speedcam at Coors and Del Norte. The surprisiging part is, the S-bend is a double fine zone, but $75 is the single fine. What leniency, huh. A human cop pulled me over just once and wrote a warning for 50 in 35 in the rural part of Southern.

  • avatar

    Politicians are like drug addicts when it comes to money. They are not going to give it up easily.

  • avatar

    I think only some of the ABQ red light cameras are also speed cameras- at least according to my Escort 9500ix.

    So, are they officially taking them down all over city on May 18!? It isn’t state jurisdiction, is it?

  • avatar

    Ha ha. The city now knows these cause accidents, and support this anyway, even circumventing state directions.

    They think this will bring revenue? Have they no notion of the lawsuits that will be flooding in for each accident that occurs?

  • avatar

    As usual, the information that could potentially justify the cameras is left out.

    I don’t like red-light cameras and I hope the data shows they don’t work, but it isn’t enough to just say “injury accidents did not reduce significantly.” Most injury reports are probably minor whiplash from rear-enders, which are expected to increase at intersections with cameras. So how about side-impact crashes and major injuries or deaths? THOSE are the stats that will make or break red-light cameras. There’s no strong case against them without that information.

  • avatar

    And, people wonder why some of us don’t trust the government to have our best interests at heart.

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