Proposal could increase traffic fines in Roswell

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – One New Mexico city is looking to raise traffic fines, and not just by a little.

The city argues it’s long overdue and that more expensive tickets will mean safer drivers.

City leaders in Roswell are looking at a proposal that they are hoping will have people think twice before speeding or running stop signs and red lights.

“Maybe if the laws were a little bit sterner and stiffer, people would be more inclined to obey the law,” said Municipal Court Judge Lou Mallion.

City Hall asked the Roswell Police Department to compare fines and fees in Roswell to other cities around New Mexico. They presented their findings to the city council public safety committee on Monday night.

The proposal suggests increasing municipal court traffic fines and fees across the board. If passed a seatbelt ticket that now costs $54 would soar to $95. All speeding fines would go up too.

“In the proposal that was given to the public safety committee, those would go up anywhere from a little less than double to as you get into some of the higher speeds of speeding, a little bit more than double,” said Todd Wildermuth, spokesperson for the city of Roswell.

Judge Mallion believes this is long overdue.

“The fine proposal is needed for the simple fact that Roswell is so far behind everybody else and officers get laughed at when they tell somebody the fine is 15 dollars,” he said.

Some people in Roswell say that if the fines are increased they’ll pay more attention to the laws.

“I try to obey the law the best I can and of course if the rates go up it’s probably going to make me a little bit more aware of being aware of where I’m at and what I’m doing,” said Todd Verciglio, Roswell resident.

Some say traffic tickets in Roswell already cost enough.

“I really think that they’re high enough, but I think it depends on the violation itself,” said Roswell resident, Linda Nowak.

It’s not just driving citations, the fine for littering would go from the judge’s discretion, to an automatic $350 fine.

It could be a couple months before the proposal makes it to a full city council vote.

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