You shouldn’t speed in Hobbs, but if you do, don’t do it after Sept. 5.
That’s when the city’s new traffic code goes into effect and the fines for traffic violations will increase almost threefold.
Monday night the Hobbs City Commission threw out the old traffic code and adopted a new one that is more in line with traffic fines across the state.
Some of the changes to fines include speeding fines being raised from the $15-150 range to a $40-$180 range and no license fines will go from $25 to $80 and running a stop sign or red signal from $10 to $45. A $29 assessment fee would also be added to these fines.
The new traffic code has been in talks for several years and comes in response to the growing number of citywide, annual traffic violations.
In 2014, Hobbs Municipal Court saw a total of 14,780 traffic cases — 2,420 of those were speeding citations. In 2015, municipal court saw 19,278 total traffic cases — 3,603 of those were speeding citations.
The commission unanimously passed the new traffic code, with Commissioner Jonathan Sena making the motion. Sena has been a proponent of traffic safety for years and said it is the No. 1 issue he hears about.
“The issue of traffic calming is the No. 1 issue ever brought to me by my constituents, by the passing of this ordinance we are moving forward in the responsiveness to our community and making our streets safer for our children,” he said.
Mayor Sam Cobb said he is disappointed higher fines are needed, but hopes they make a difference.
“I would have hoped some of the enforcement we are doing would have made a bigger impact on some of our residents. I would encourage them to take it to heart when they see the article,” he said.
City Attorney Efren Cortez, one of the framers of the new code, told the commission last month he knew a new code was needed when a speeder laughed in his face, opting to pay the fine rather than take a defensive driving course.
Other changes in the new code include; allowing the commission to change the fines as they see fit in the future, establishes a traffic bureau to help with the number of traffic offenses seen by the Hobbs Municipal Court and increase the time that violators are given to address their tickets from five days to 30 days.
Levi Hill can be reached at 391-5438 or by email.