City considers new deal to revive speed SUV program
|By Chris Quintana, The Santa Fe New Mexican|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
A new contract with
The plan to revive the mobile speed enforcement system is likely to draw criticism from the community and is already getting mixed reviews from city councilors. The speed SUV program originally was sold to the city as a public safety measure, but there is little hard evidence to show it has made the roads safer.
In its proposal to
Both Maestas and Trujillo said they don't believe federal corruption charges against
The city had sought a new contract for operation of its speed SUV program, after allowing its previous contract with
Speeding tickets issued through the program are
The fines are paid directly to
The city and the state split the rest of the revenue.
During the time the speed SUVs were operating in
The New Mexican reported in January that the SUVs generated 8,850 citations in 2012 and 6,919 citations in 2013.
And although the program's success at slowing drivers is hard to track, one report does show a decline in crashes in the city from 2,709 in 2008 to 2,200 in 2011, two years after the speed SUVs were introduced.
Trujillo said he believes the program has led drivers to slow down on wide thoroughfares such as
During the school year, two of the city's three speed SUVs were parked in school zones in the morning and afternoon, to slow traffic while students were arriving at school and leaving.
"It's very good for the city," Trujillo said. "To me, it's curbed speeding in the community. We cannot have police presence everywhere."
But Lindell, who got nabbed by one of the speed SUVs, said she walks the same residential road twice daily, and on the days when the SUVs were parked nearby, she noted motorists driving slower.
"I was really opposed to them," she said. "But I do think they serve a purpose for safety."
Maestas argued that an officer issuing traffic tickets is a stronger deterrent to speeders than an SUV, but he admitted, "I don't have a viable alternative."
Dominguez said he feels the community has mixed feelings about the program. "I think we need to get answers," he said. "And I welcome the public debate."
A police officer reviews each of the images and then decides if a fine is warranted. According to the department, the tickets are citations that don't affect a person's driving record or insurance.
Speed SUVs are not allowed on state roads, which includes major thoroughfares in
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