What is New Mexico's Senate Bill 19?

Have you ever heard of Senate Bill 19? As a New Mexico driver, it affects you and every other driver in the state. Every time you get behind the wheel of your car, you are impacted by NM SB 19. But what exactly is it, and why is it so important to you and your safety behind the wheel?

In plain terms, New Mexico Senate Bill 19 is New Mexico's distracted driving law focused specifically on texting and driving. The bill explicitly forbids texting while driving due to the massive safety hazard caused, which can lead to car crashes, personal injury and even death. Once you are behind the wheel, you are prohibited from viewing or sending text messages while operating your vehicle. The only exception is to summon or respond to emergency services. The only other exceptions involving handheld devices involve licensed radio operators using amateur radios.

Your first instance of texting while driving can incur a penalty of $25, while the second and any subsequent instances can incur a penalty of $50. This is only applicable to an offense in which no one was injured or killed, such as if an officer pulls you over for a traffic stop because they noticed you texting while driving. Penalties can be far heavier in incidents where distracted driving due to texting led to an accident, injury or death. The punishment tends to fit the nature of the crime.

This blog post is provided for reference only, and is not a source of actionable legal advice or counsel.

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