Half of city voters back vans to catch speeders - Albuquerque Journal

Half of city voters back vans to catch speeders

Speed vans — or something like them — are destined for Albuquerque’s streets, but a new Journal Poll shows city voters are divided on the idea.

In a survey of likely city voters, 50% said they support installing speed vans to ticket drivers who exceed the speed limit. That’s compared to 43% of respondents who oppose the technology and 6% who say it depends.

The Albuquerque City Council this month passed legislation enabling automated, camera-based speed enforcement technology and Mayor Tim Keller signed the measure into law.

The bill’s supporters have touted the technology as a way to help curb dangerously fast driving, allowing police officers to focus on other criminal activity.

“Excessive speeding is a considerable problem throughout all areas in Albuquerque. Until the Albuquerque Police Department is fully staffed and able to enforce all violent and non-violent crimes successfully, we must do everything we can to make our city streets safer,” Councilor Brook Bassan, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement this month.

The legislation cleared the council easily, with only Councilor Pat Davis voting against it, calling it a “surveillance state” measure of questionable effectiveness.

Keller has said the city plans to have the technology up and running by this winter.

It is not clear if the initiative will involve vans or some other kind of mobile detection.

The program will issue civil citations payable with $100 or four hours of community service.

According to the poll, women (57%) are more supportive of speed vans than men (42%). Similar disparities exist based on political affiliation, with 56% of Democrats favoring the technology compared with 41% of Republicans.

But the largest variations occur across the age spectrum, with the oldest voters twice as likely to approve of the vans than the youngest voters.

While 62% of those ages 65-plus support speed vans in the poll, only 28% of those ages 18-34 feel the same.

“Seniors are more conservative drivers than young people, and so I’m not surprised that younger people are more opposed to this,” said Brian Sanderoff, president of Albuquerque-based Research & Polling Inc., which conducted the Journal Poll.

Albuquerque once had cameras at intersections to cite red light runners and speeders, though the city eventually changed the focus solely on red light violators. The city ultimately ditched the cameras entirely after 53% of voters came out against them via an advisory question on the 2011 ballot.

The Journal Poll is based on a scientific, citywide sample of 536 likely regular local election voters, including those who voted in the 2017 and/or 2019 local elections, and a small sample of newly registered voters likely to vote in 2021.

The poll was conducted Oct. 15 through Oct. 21. The voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. The margin of error grows for subsamples.

All interviews were conducted by live, professional interviewers, with multiple callbacks to households that did not initially answer the phone. Both cellphone numbers (82%) and landlines (18%) were used.

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