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Reader wonders if rattletrap cars ever get inspections here

WHY DOESN’T N.M. INSPECT ITS VEHICLES?

Nick Harrison emails, “I’m often surprised at the condition of some cars and trucks on the streets and highways around the state. Many are missing what I would consider important parts like windshields, bumpers and even lights. I’ve seen dangling mufflers and wobbly wheels that appear ready to detach from their axles.”

And so, Nick asks “if an annual inspection of basic things like brakes, lights and tire treads has ever been considered in the state? With so many cars obviously being held together by tape and wire, it makes me wonder about the road-worthiness and safety of all the state’s vehicles.”

New Mexico actually had annual vehicle inspections until the mid-1970s, when Rep. Bill Rehm says the law was repealed.

The Albuquerque Republican says, “The reason for the repeal was it was a headlight, tail light, windshield, windshield wiper, etc. inspection – not an examination of the brakes or vehicle operation. They pushed on the brake pedal but did not look at the brakes (most brakes of that era were drum brakes, requiring disassembly).

“The problem was at that time there were very few self-service gas stations. You went to your local gas station where you were known by first name. The owner would ask you for $1 (the fee) and look at the lights, windshield and hand you a sticker to place in your windshield. Many times there was not much inspection and thus the reason to repeal.”

Instead, the retired sheriff’s captain says law enforcement uses two main statutes, 66-3-801-875 and 66-3-901.

The first includes separate sections for everything from headlights to brakes, horns to mirrors. Rehm says, “We generally used 66-3-901 because it states: ‘Vehicles without required equipment or in unsafe condition. No person shall drive or move on any highway any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer or pole trailer or any combination thereof unless the equipment upon every vehicle is in good working order and adjustment as required in the Motor Vehicle Code … and the vehicle is in such safe mechanical condition as not to endanger the driver or other occupant or any person upon the highway.’ ”

SECOND STREET TRAIL GETS UPGRADE: Bernalillo County is putting almost a million federal bucks ($948,231) into a mile of the trail on the east side of Second, from just north of Prosperity Avenue to the South Diversion Channel.

A county news release and the bernco.gov website say the project “will improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians” via “a 10-foot-wide asphalt multi-use trail.”

The county partnered with the New Mexico Department of Transportation on the design, which is 90 percent complete. “Trail project construction will begin by Fall 2015 (and) is federally funded with county road bonds,” according to the website.

FREE CAR-SEAT CHECK-UPS: Once again, Safer New Mexico Now and NMDOT will host an absolutely free child safety seat clinic to help parents and guardians ensure they have the right car seat, installed correctly, for their child.

The clinic is from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Sandia Resort, 30 Rainbow Road, near Tramway and Interstate 25.

Trained technicians will check installation, if there are any recalls or expirations, as well as fit. Drivers are asked to bring the seat and, if possible, the child who uses it.

For an appointment, call 505-856-6143 or (800) 231-6145.

STATE PARK AND RIDE GOES REAL-TIME: NMDOT’s Park and Ride intercity bus service has 11 routes with more than 100 weekday departures – from Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Espa ñ ola, Los Alamos, Moriarty, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, White Sands and the South Capitol and N.M. 599 train stations.

With rates running from $2 to $6, it’s an inexpensive way to let someone else do the driving. And according to an NMDOT news release, now anyone with a laptop, tablet or smartphone can see where their bus is at.

Riders can download the app for iPhone or Android (transloc.com/app) or link to it at www.nmparkandride.com.

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; road@abqjournal.com; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

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