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Editorial: Red-light camera payout won’t make streets safer

In 2010, when the state of New Mexico shut off the red-light cameras at Paseo del Norte and Jefferson, Coors and Paseo, and Coors and Montaño, a nonprofit found “sensors installed in the street continued to track drivers who disobeyed the law by running red lights and speeding. Since then, the city has reported red-light running and speeding at those intersections increased by 584 percent.”

In 2011 the city of Albuquerque unplugged the remaining 14 intersections.

In 2016, the absence of red light cameras might have made some drivers’ hearts grow fonder, but it has not made Albuquerque streets safer. (You don’t have to figure that out as you wait for a massive pickup truck to barrel through a red turn arrow before venturing into the intersection on your green.) And it makes a proposed $3.5 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit over fine collections a footnote that could easily become a tombstone. Albuquerque installed the cameras in 2005 after three people were killed by a red-light runner at Juan Tabo and Lomas on Thanksgiving Day.

According to documents in the case, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. and four other companies have reached a tentative deal over “robocall” collection tactics. Tens of thousands of people would be eligible for around $200 each if it’s finalized. Members of the class will be mailed postcards and be able to check a website.

Meanwhile, every driver in Albuquerque can simply watch car after truck after SUV run red lights – and hopefully dodge them whenever possible.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.