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3/19/2007
New Mexico Adopts Red Light Camera Restrictions
The New Mexico state legislature adopts two measures to restrict the profit from photo enforcement and to provide advance notice of camera locations.

New Mexico legislature
The New Mexico state legislature on Saturday put cities on notice that Albuquerque's practice of charging up to $500 for red light camera tickets was unacceptable. Lawmakers also adopted a second measure last week to provide advance warning about the use of photo enforcement. Both bills await the signature of Governor Bill Richardson (D).

Under the proposed law, the total amount of any speed camera or red light camera ticket issued within the state will be capped at $100. Of this amount, the municipality keeps $67, the courts get $25, $5 goes to the brain injury services fund and $3 goes to fund conventional ticketing operations by police. From the city's cut, the private Australian contractor, Redflex, keeps a $32 bounty for each ticket it is able to issue. This leaves the city with $35 in clear profit per ticket.

The final legislation reflects a compromise adopted by a 7-2 vote in the House Judiciary Committee which watered down the original proposal designed to eliminate the city's profit incentive. To date Redflex has mailed $9.4 million worth of tickets. Even if the new restrictions applied, Albuquerque would still pocket $3 million in clear profit from the program. The bill also mandates a financial audit every five years.

The second bill mandates the use of warning signs in advance of red light camera locations along with either rumble strips in the pavement or a warning beacon that flashes a yellow light in advance of the signal light changing to red. The measure is designed to provide extra notice to motorists so that they are not trapped by short yellow times. Three out of every four red light camera tickets are issued for technical violations that happen when a motorist crosses a stop bar after the signal light has been red for a split-second.

Article Excerpt:
SENATE BILL 365

48th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2007
INTRODUCED BY Michael S. Sanchez

AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES; PROVIDING FOR CONSISTENT TRAFFIC FINES TO BE IMPOSED BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES; LIMITING THE AMOUNT OF CERTAIN FINES AND FEES IMPOSED BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES FOR CERTAIN OFFENSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:

Section 1. Section 3-18-17 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1965, Chapter 300, Section 14-17-14) is amended to read:

3-18-17. NUISANCES AND OFFENSES--REGULATION OR PROHIBITION.--A municipality, including a home-rule municipality that has adopted a charter pursuant to Article 10, Section 6 of the constitution of New Mexico, may by ordinance:

A. define a nuisance, abate a nuisance and impose penalties or fines and costs or fees upon a person who creates or allows a nuisance to exist, provided that penalties imposed by an ordinance for failure to obey a traffic sign or signal including a red light violation, or for a speeding offense or violation shall be subject to the following criteria:

(1) the total amount assessed in fines, fees and costs shall not exceed one hundred dollars ($100);

(2) except as provided in Paragraph (3) of this subsection, of the amount assessed, two-thirds shall be retained by the municipality to defray the costs of carrying out the program and the remainder shall be distributed to the administrative office of the courts, of which five percent of the total amount assessed shall be credited to the brain injury services fund, three percent shall be credited to the traffic safety education and enforcement fund and the remainder shall be credited to the court facilities fund; and

(3) in fiscal year 2008 and not less than once every five fiscal years thereafter, the municipality shall cause an audit of the program to be conducted by the state auditor or an independent auditor selected by the state auditor. If an audit shows that the costs of maintaining the program plus ten percent is less than the amount of the assessment retained by the municipality, the excess shall be distributed to the administrative office of the courts to be credited to the court facilities fund;

...

Section 2. TEMPORARY PROVISION--APPLICABILITY.--The provisions of this act shall apply prospectively to all municipal ordinances enacted before or after the effective date of the provisions of this act.

Section 3. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2007.


SENATE BILL 861
48th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2007
INTRODUCED BY William H. Payne

AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES; PROVIDING FOR WARNING SIGNS AND BEACONS OR RUMBLE STRIPS IN ADVANCE OF TRAFFIC SIGNALS USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH CAMERAS THAT DETECT VIOLATIONS OF THE TRAFFIC SIGNAL.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:

Section 1. A new section of the Motor Vehicle Code is enacted to read:

ADVANCE SIGNAL WARNING REQUIRED.--

A. As used in this section:

(1) "camera monitor" means a device or instrument that records a visual image of a motor vehicle being operated in violation of a traffic signal's red light directive to stop;

(2) "controller assembly" means a complete electrical device mounted in a cabinet for controlling the operation of a traffic signal;

(3) "rumble strips" means grooves in pavement or rows of raised pavement markers placed perpendicular to the direction of travel in a street or highway lane to alert inattentive drivers to a lane or traffic condition;

(4) "traffic signal" means a power-operated traffic control device by which traffic is alternately directed to stop and permitted to proceed; and

(5) "warning beacon" means a power-operated traffic control device with one or more signal sections that operates in a flashing mode.

B. When a county or municipality, including a home-rule municipality that has adopted a charter pursuant to Article 10, Section 6 of the constitution of New Mexico, uses a camera monitor in conjunction with a traffic signal at an intersection or other location to detect violation of the traffic signal's red light directive to stop, the county or municipality shall install, on streets or highways approaching the traffic signal from directions covered by the camera monitor, a warning sign or signs supplemented by a warning beacon or rumble strips.

C. The warning beacon described in Subsection B of this section shall be installed, together with the warning sign or signs, at a location and interconnected with the traffic signal controller assembly in a manner that will cause the beacon to flash yellow during the period when a person driving a motor vehicle passing the beacon at the legal speed for the street or highway will encounter a traffic signal red light, or a queue of motor vehicles resulting from the display of the red light, upon arrival at the signalized location.

D. If rumble strips described in Subsection B of this section are used, they shall be installed, together with warning signs, at a location in advance of a traffic signal so as to provide a driver, moving over the rumble strips at the legal speed for the street or highway, with warning that if the traffic signal is displaying a yellow signal, the driver will encounter a traffic signal red light, or a queue of motor vehicles resulting from the display of the red light, upon arrival at the signalized location.

E. Warning signs used with beacons or rumble strips shall warn a driver that the driver may encounter a traffic signal displaying a red light at an upcoming intersection and that the traffic signal is photo-enforced. When used with rumble strips, a warning sign shall be installed facing traffic approaching a signalized location on the near side of the street or highway and, if appropriate, a warning sign shall also be installed facing traffic approaching a signalized location on a median dividing opposite directions of traffic.

F. The warning sign and warning beacon described in Subsection B of this section shall comply with signs and beacons appropriate for the purposes of this section provided in the manual of uniform traffic control devices adopted by the state transportation commission pursuant to Section 66-7-101 NMSA 1978.


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