New Mexico’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about New Mexico’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

New Mexico’s distracted driving laws prohibit all motorists from text messaging while operating a vehicle. And for commercial drivers, texting and talking on a phone while driving is against the law. This article covers the specifics of the laws and the costs of a texting of cellphone ticket.

Talking on a Cellphone

For most New Mexican drivers, there aren’t any restrictions on talking on a phone while driving. However, anyone operating a commercial vehicle is prohibited from using a handheld mobile communication device for any purpose while operating that vehicle. In other words, it’s illegal for commercial drivers to talk on the phone or text message while driving.

Driving. For purposes of the distracted driving laws, “driving” means being in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or street. This definition includes temporary stops because of traffic, a stop sign, or a stop light.

Exceptions. The commercial driver handheld device ban doesn’t apply to:

  • device use for the purpose of summoning medical or emergency assistance
  • a GPS or navigation system
  • devices that are physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle, or
  • devices in voice-operated or hands-free mode.

Penalties. A commercial vehicle texting or cellphone ticket carries a $25 fine for a first violation and a $50 fine for a second or subsequent violation.

Text Messaging

New Mexico’s distracted driving law prohibits all motorists from using a handheld mobile communication device to read, view, or type a text message while driving.

Text message. For purposes of the distracted driving laws, “text message” means a digital communication transmitted or intended to be transmitted between communication devices. This definition includes email, instant messages, regular text messages, and commands or requests to an internet site.

Exceptions. The texting ban doesn’t apply to:

  • device use for the purpose of summoning medical or emergency assistance
  • a GPS or navigation system
  • devices that are physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle, or
  • devices in voice-operated or hands-free mode.

Penalties. A text messaging ticket carries a $25 fine for a first violation and a $50 fine for a second or subsequent violation.

Other Possible Charges

Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these offense results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

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