Speeding camera 'vandals' are another citizen's 'heroes' - Albuquerque Journal

Speeding camera ‘vandals’ are another citizen’s ‘heroes’

AND THE SPEED GOES ON: The response to one of the city’s speed cameras being stolen has drawn mixed responses.

To recap, last week someone stole the camera on Lead, and the city quickly removed the camera on Coal until it figures out a better way to install the devices. While the cameras on Gibson, Montgomery and Unser are in the medians on existing city poles, the Lead and Coal cameras were on poles mounted on the sidewalks.

Some readers weren’t surprised.

Kevin emails “Albuquerque is totally lawless. And you know dozens of drivers sped past that camera when it was being stolen. And did nothing.”

And Van Eldredge emails “does anyone else find some very sad irony in the report that the Albuquerque police have now been a victim of a crime?”

Others cheered. The Journal’s Facebook page includes comments on the column including “vandals? Heroes,” “not all heroes wear capes,” “there is justice in this world” and “now if only we can get the Gibson ones.”

Meanwhile, the cameras do not seem to be slowing many people down – and slower, safer traffic, not tickets, was the city’s purported goal. They issue $100 civil citations, though you can do four hours of community service instead. They start citing at 5 mph over in school and work zones, 10 mph over everywhere else.

TRIPLE-DIGIT SPEEDS: While the cameras have already issued thousands of tickets, the latest batch of data from the Albuquerque Police Department, on the raw speeds drivers are traveling, is telling.

From May 25 through June 27, the top speeds recorded on eastbound Coal at Cornell (posted limit is 30 mph) was 89 mph; northbound Unser at Tower (a 40 mph zone) was 91 mph; westbound Lead at Cornell (posted at 30 mph) was 96 mph; westbound Gibson at Carlisle (a 40 mph zone) was 107 mph; westbound Montgomery between Wyoming and Eubank (a 40 mph zone) was 131 mph; and eastbound Gibson at Carlisle (posted at 40 mph) was 150 mph.

In addition to the eye-popping speeds, the sheer volume of speeders says something. While hundreds of thousands of drivers were clocked at 1-9 mph over the posted limit, on eastbound Gibson, 87,946 vehicles were going 11 mph or more over the 40 mph limit (22%); 25 were going 60 mph or more over the limit.

On westbound Gibson 63,754 were going 11 mph or more over the limit (14%); seven were going 60 mph or more over.

On northbound Unser, 23,729 were going 11 mph or more over (14.9%); nobody was clocked at 60 mph-plus over.

On westbound Montgomery, 21,852 were going 11 mph or more over (7.3%); five were clocked at 60 mph-plus over.

On westbound Lead 2,994 were going 11 mph or more over (1.9%); one was recorded at 60 mph-plus over.

And on eastbound Coal, 5,055 were going 11 mph or more over (3%); nobody was clocked at 60 mph-plus over.

According to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, at 20 mph the likelihood of death or severe injury is 10%. At 30 mph that jumps to 40%. And at 40 mph the likelihood of death or severe injury is 80%.

And that does not bode well for any “hero” in a wreck at 89, 91, 96, 107, 131 or 150 mph.

STREET RACING BUSTS: On Saturday, June 25, around 11:30 p.m., the Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office targeted a street racing gathering “Take the Streets Over” that staged in a parking lot off Interstate 25 at Menaul. APD posted on Facebook that officers in vehicles issued 167 citations as vehicles pulled onto Menaul and peeled out, and the sheriff’s helicopter even tracked one woman all the way to Rio Rancho, where she was arrested for aggravated fleeing, DWI and child abuse.

You can see the lapel and helicopter video on APD’s Facebook page.

In Albuquerque watching an illegal street race is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 and/or 90 days in jail. In unincorporated Bernalillo County, illegal street or drag racing, exhibition driving (such as fishtailing) and spectating at such events carries a maximum fine of $300, up to 90 days in jail, or both.

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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