Readers asking for vehicle noise inspections and new helmet law

LAWMAKERS, DO I HEAR DECIBEL INSPECTIONS? Ann P. Boland emails, “We have to have our vehicles inspected regularly for polluting emissions, and that is fine as far as it goes. But one source of pollution, noise, does not seem to be of concern to the authorities. I am an 80-year-old widow living in a retirement community next to Juan Tabo and a block from Montgomery. My sleep and daytime peace are constantly battered by unnecessary noise from extra-loud vehicles such as motorcycles and un-muffled cars and trucks. Racing seems to be the hobby of immature drivers, as well as revving of motors.

“Why can’t there be inspection of the decibel levels of vehicles as we get other pollution sources inspected? It would certainly cut down on aggravation and thereby improve mental health.”

Why indeed. New Mexico does not require vehicle inspections for registration; only Bernalillo County requires an emissions inspection — on vehicles including hybrids 1987 and newer — every two years.

OR HELMET REQUIREMENT? Eileen also has a request for lawmakers. “Thanks for your article (Aug. 9) highlighting how unsafe it is right now for motorcyclists. Is the state Legislature or the city considering a helmet law?”

In New Mexico law currently says, “Persons under the age of 18 must wear a safety helmet when operating or riding on a motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle (ATV).” No word on anyone moving to expand that.

CAN’T GO STRAIGHT AT I-40/SIXTH: Wally says in an email the westbound off-ramp roadside sign and pavement are out of sync, with the sign saying the right lane allows turns and through traffic while the reality is you must turn right or hit a median.

Kimberly Gallegos, who handles information for the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s District 3 Albuquerque office, “passed this one on to our sign crew, so they can replace the white sign the reader mentioned.”

TRAMWAY STOP BACK IN THE DARK: Earlier this year, Judy and Tom Christopher emailed “we pass through (the Tramway Boulevard and Tramway Road) intersection every time we leave our neighborhood. It’s been a dangerous one, for decades, as the north- and southbound cars frequently approach it at speeds pushing 60 mph — the posted speed limit is 50 mph — and the stop signs are standard size.

“Those drivers coming down hill from the east have a posted speed limit of 35. At one time the stop signs for both north- and southbound drivers flashed with illumination, at night, alerting drivers of the approaching stop. It’s been several months since those ceased.”

Gallegos says “NMDOT had placed the stop signs with inlaid lights as a test of the product. They had been there for quite a while, and then a crash occurred in the area and the signs were damaged, so just the regular stop signs were installed back at that intersection. (The lighted signs) were a test product and have not been placed on NMDOT’s inventory list.”

However, “DOT has done an extensive evaluation of that intersection and installed enhanced signing to alert the traffic to the presence of the stop condition and to address the speeding issue. We will look into the possibility of adding some STOP AHEAD pavement markings.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

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