New Mexico: Study Shows Photo Enforcement Increased Accidents

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
new mexico study shows photo enforcement increased accidents

Photo enforcement cameras are temporarily disabled in Albuquerque, New Mexico after a study by the University of New Mexico failed to offer a complete justification for the program. Mayor Richard J. Berry announced that he would eliminate six of the twenty red light camera intersections where accidents increased the most. He also will stop issuing speed camera citations at intersections — although he plans to keep three vans to set up mobile photo radar traps. While the contract with Redflex Traffic Systems is expired, Berry is seeking a better deal from other photo ticketing vendors.

Albuquerque started the automated enforcement program with a pair of red light cameras in 2004 and gradually expanded to cover both speed and red light tickets at twenty intersections (although three locations were shut down by the state in May). The combination has resulted in the mailing of 527,250 citations, each worth between $100 and $400. Total revenue exceeded $37,931,000 with another $5,676,000 expected in fiscal 2011. Of this amount, Redflex has taken home $15,947,000 with another $3,498,000 expected in 2011.

With that much money at stake, the study, which was funded by the city of Albuquerque, presented automated enforcement as favorable a light as it could. The study measured the number of accidents in thirty-eight camera-free control intersections used for comparison with the twenty photo-enforced intersections. The total number of crashes at the photo enforced intersections increased while camera-free intersections saw a decrease. While injury accidents decreased at the camera intersections, the decrease was much more prominent, 29 percent, at camera-free locations.

The report dismissed the increase in the overall number of crashes by providing an accident cost analysis not based on any examination of the collisions in Albuquerque, but by applying a generic formula designed to downplay the importance of rear end collisions. The report recommended that the city use engineering countermeasures to improve safety. Mayor Berry issued a statement confirming his willingness to do so — including giving drivers longer yellow times.

“I have asked the city’s municipal development director to look at ways to improve these intersections with better traffic engineering, signage, adjustments to the length of yellow lights and enhanced signalization,” Berry said.

A copy of the full study is available in a 2mb PDF file at the source link below.

Albuquerque Red Light Camera Study (University of New Mexico, 10/26/2010)


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  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Oct 26, 2010

    Bet if we didn't give Marty Chavez the boot, the cameras would've been multiplying no matter what. Unfortunately, no mayor can widen the Martin Luter King Jr. back. "Engineering measures" my posterior!

    • Rob Finfrock Rob Finfrock on Oct 26, 2010

      (... And they're doing the same %^$* thing to Lead and Coal now!) I'm not a Marty fan, though his determination to plow through the bosque to build the Montano bridge is a decision of his that I benefit from every day on my commute.

  • Henrythegearhead Henrythegearhead on Oct 27, 2010

    Aside from dreams of revenue, why do politicians OK the cameras? 1. They think we like the cameras! Early this month a blog exposed Astroturf Lobbying in the red light cam Industry. (To read it, Google Rynski and Astroturf.) Astroturf Lobbying is when a PR firm manufactures a fake grassroots movement via comments posted on news articles like this one. The politicians, sensing strong community support (they read these comment columns too), give the OK for cameras. 2. Politicians - and their extended family - are immune to the tickets. In California 1.5 million privately-owned cars have plate numbers protected from easy look up, effectively invisible to agencies trying to process red light camera violations. Such "protected plate" lists exist in other states, too. (In CA the list includes local politicians, bureaucrats, retired cops, other govt. employees, and their families and ADULT children!) Someone should check to see who and how many are 'protected' in each state and province.

  • Art Vandelay It was junked due to all of the Peter puffing Tassos and EBFlex did in it. Nobody wants to ride in that. Clearly it is a Hyundai so they never go to the junkyard otherwise
  • Art Vandelay Tassos and EBFlex can puff each others peters in the back while it charges
  • Kenneth Ironic story here...My father's first Hyundai/Kia car was an 86 Hyundai Excel, we drove it from Oklahoma to California and back the first year he had owned it; it was so under powered that every hill on the interstate (and every other road) was done in second gear, he put 300,000 miles on it before he sold it. It wasn't fast, it wasn't fancy but it got the job done and never left him on the side of the road.He owns a 2020 Kia Soul now...My first Hyundai which I recently bought is a 2014 Hyundai Equus Signature which I picked up in Phoenix and drove back to Oklahoma, it is everything that the Excel isn't and so much more.
  • Analoggrotto Another step in towards total adoption of Tesla vehicles for the ENTIRE american public by 2025. Anyone who refuses to admit that TESLA is the best will be deported from our galaxy, our future and our universe.
  • Dukeisduke This makes me think of the gimmicky ads for some retail electricity providers here in Texas, specifically TXU Electric and Reliant - "free nights", "free weekends", etc.