HURRAY FOR NO-PLATE CRACKDOWN: After the Albuquerque Police Department announced starting Feb. 4 it would focus on drivers without license plates on their vehicles, David shared via email “so glad to see APD finally cracking down on this criminal activity. Pulling these vehicles over for no license plates will most likely lead to finding other violations like outstanding warrants and drugs and/or guns in the vehicle.”
After just a week, APD announced it had written 934 tickets related to license-plate infractions and made four arrests, primarily for driving on a revoked license. Citations included expired plates, expired temporary tags, illegible plates, improper display of plate, no plates and no registration.
David adds that the $25 citation for a license plate violation “is a joke. When was the last time this ancient, outdated fee was increased? The fine must fit the crime. These drug dealers and gang members are carrying around hundreds if not thousands of drug money in their pockets. Raise the fine to at least $50. Got to get tough on crime!”
Are N.M. legislators listening?
WHY NOT REQUIRE NEW PLATES? Alfred Chavez shares “glad to read that police are going after vehicles with no license plates. But since moving back here I can’t help noticing how many folks have faded or illegible license plates. My brother in Texas tells me the state requires purchase of new plates every five years. Why not do something like that here?”
New Mexico operates on the honor system, where vehicle owners are expected to exchange their faded/illegible license plates for new ones at a $17 charge.
Charlie Moore of N.M. Taxation and Revenue, which oversees the Motor Vehicle Division, says he has not heard of any legislation this year to change that.
AND WHAT ABOUT BERNALILLO COUNTY? LJH asks in an email “No plates is also a huge problem in unincorporated Bernalillo County, especially the South Valley. Recently, I even saw a pro-football team plate in the rear license plate bracket of a vehicle in the South Valley. There is no license plate enforcement and no speed enforcement in the South Valley, particularly on Rio Bravo, both east- and westbound between Coors and Second, (and on) Coors, both north- and southbound between Rio Bravo and the Isleta reservation.”
Jayme Fuller-Gonzales, public information coordinator for Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, says deputies “have conducted multiple speed and drag racing tactical plans in the specific areas mentioned. In addition, we conduct DWI saturation patrols in the same areas.”
But LJH isn’t done. “As illustrated by the recent ATV wreck near Rio Bravo/Isleta, there is no requirement of licensing of ATVs, operators of ATVs, and no speed enforcement for those either. During the shutdown of the pandemic, the numbers of ATVs on many South Valley roads, paved streets and ditchbanks was dramatically increased, and it was observed the ATVs never were operated at or below posted speed limits. Some ATVs were observed driving down the median lane of Coors road south of Rio Bravo at speeds exceeding that of the legally operated cars and trucks.”
Fuller-Gonzales says “for ATVs our policy prohibits pursuing these vehicles, and as such they tend to flee from law enforcement on the ditch banks and West Mesa. We have conducted several tactical plans to reduce the number of ATVs violating the laws.”
OSUNA CLOSED IN LOS RANCHOS: Beginning Feb. 27, the village says in a news release it will close Osuna Road between Fourth Street and the Chamizal Lateral (ditch) west of Second Street for construction. The closure is expected to last 10 to 14 days, with single-lane closures following for two to three days to complete sidewalk repairs. Drivers are advised to use Montaño or Alameda. For more information, call the Village of Los Ranchos at (505) 344-6582.
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; email@example.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.
More Road Warrior columns: