New Mexico texting ban now law

New Mexico has approved a ban on text messaging while driving, with the Legislature’s plan signed by a receptive governor March 2. The texting law’s effective date is July 1.

(post updated March 2)

flag of New Mexico texting postThe texting & driving legislation sailed through the Legislature, with only five lawmakers opposed in the House and one in the Senate.

The law makes New Mexico the 42nd state to outlaw text messaging by all drivers. The state already has a ban on use of communications devices by driving students under age 18. It has no other cell phone laws.

Fines will be $25 (first offense), then $50. Enforcement is primary, allowing police to stop and cite violators for that reason alone.

“There is no text message that is worth a person’s life,” Gov. Susana Martinez said upon signing the act. She said texting while behind the wheel is the leading cause of death for New Mexico’s teen drivers.

The sponsor was state Sen. Peter Wirth, who filed a similar plan in 2013. The bill also targets “image communication” and web site use by drivers. It permits use of GPS and in-dash interactive systems. It bars police police from seizing cell phones to see if a texting violation occurred.

“One more stop,” Wirth said in a Tweet after passage.

Gov. Martinez’s office has said the lack of a texting law costs the state millions in highway funding.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez has been a longtime opponent of distracted driving legislation, and was one of the few to vote against the Wirth measure.

Read more about distracted driving laws in New Mexico.

Comments

  1. Al Cinamon says:

    New Mexico is the 42nd state to jump on the gravy train. Anti-texting laws don’t stop people from testing. They just hide the device in their lap, which causes a greater distraction. And the states know this. That’s why they’re putting troopers in SUVs and big rigs so they can look down into the cars to catch the violators.

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