Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

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On Wednesday, Mayor Tim Keller announced that the city’s automated speed enforcement will start up again on April 25. Drivers will receive a warning for the first month until May 25, when the warnings will turn into $100 civil fines for speeders. The city claims that the new automated speed enforcement is data-driven and vastly improved from the former, unpopular red-light cameras.

“We have multiple systems that will be going live on April 25. We will have a few systems that will be issuing warnings in specific locations. And then, over the course of several months, we will add additional systems throughout the city,” Keller said at the press conference. “We will have portable and fixed systems. And what’s critical to understand is these aren’t vans. I know we’ve seen vans, we’ve seen trailers, you know all of y’all are very familiar with other speeding enforcement devices. These are not vans. These are camera systems that are small and compact. You may or may not notice them.”

The city has used traffic data to identify “hot spots” of traffic fatalities and speed enforcement. Gibson has been an area of particular concern, with drivers regularly exceeding speeds of 100 mph.

“With the help of automated speed enforcement, or as we also call them, speed safety cameras, we can curb speeding, influence better driver behavior and help create safer communities for everybody,” Albuquerque’s Vision Zero Coordinator Valeria Hermanson said. “In a perfect world, we wouldn’t issue a single citation as a result of the implementation of these new speed safety cameras. But with so many driving at excessive speeds, we believe the speed safety cameras will help Albuquerque reach its Vision Zero.”

Keller also emphasized that automated speed enforcement is not predatory and will only target excessive speeders. “If you’re not speeding excessively, you’re not going to get a ticket. So, let’s just be clear, this is for people who are explicitly breaking the law,” Mayor Keller said.

Automated speed enforcement is also a common practice across the state. New Mexico cities such as Rio Rancho and Santa Fe already have them in place. Albuquerque will use budgeting and data-driven strategy developed in these cities to implement automated speed enforcement over the next few months.

“We believe this system not only takes what has happened in Rio Rancho and Santa Fe to New Mexico towns that already have this, but it actually combines the best practices of both of those for both enforcement placement but also protection and civil rights and options and understanding where people are coming from,” Mayor Keller said.

Citations for speed by the automated speed enforcement will not go on record. According to the city, the program was developed and will continue to develop through an unbiased equity lens.

The city has three automated speed enforcement installations around the city. Officials wouldn’t specify locations but said that two are already up and running on Gibson Blvd. and one on Montgomery Blvd.

The city will increase the number of installations based on traffic data collected in the next few months.