New Mexico lawmakers discussing statewide texting and driving ban

New Mexico lawmakers discussing statewide texting and driving ban
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 4:53pm

Lawmakers in New Mexico are again discussing a proposed law that would make texting while driving illegal statewide.

Senate Bill 19 cleared its first hurdle passing the Senate Public Affairs Committee.

"It just keeps everybody safe that's on the road especially cyclists and people that are walking," said Las Cruces driver Gabriela Lafuente.

For the second time in back-to-back legislative sessions a bill banning texting and driving for the entire state has been introduced by Santa Fe area Senator Peter Wirth.

The first violation would consist of a $25 dollar and $50 for a second violation.
The law would also apply to drivers texting or using their phone to browse the web while stopped at a red light or stop sign.

The goal is to prevent crashes on roads or near crashes.  

"I wasn't really paying attention so I went but on the right side there was a lady and I almost hit her," Lafuente said of a close call.

She said after that incident she has no longer used her phone while in the car.

GPS and navigation systems would be excluded and some smartphones that feature voice to text commands would also be excluded.

Roy Stoddart, who gets around Las Cruces on his bike, said simple common sense can go a long way.

"They should pullover on the side and text," he said. "Whenever they're done they can get on their way."

The proposed law would allow drivers to safely pullover and use their phones.

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