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New Mexico Bans Texting While Driving

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March 6, 2014—New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez recently signed a new law that prohibits text messaging while driving, which will take effect July 1.

New Mexico is the 42nd U.S. state to prohibit texting behind the wheel by all drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The District of Columbia, Guam and Virgin Islands have also enacted text messaging bans among drivers.

"I applaud Governor Martinez and the New Mexico legislature for sending a clear message that texting while driving will not be tolerated," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Too many people—whether they were victims of a crash themselves or know someone who was—have suffered pain and loss as a result of texting while driving. No text is worth someone's life."

The NHTSA said New Mexico's law allows for primary enforcement, which means enforcement officers can stop and ticket drivers solely for texting while driving. New Mexico's law is also enforceable while drivers are temporarily stopped on the road due to traffic or traffic lights. Violators will be fined $25 on their first offense, and $50 for subsequent offenses.

"Reducing the dangers of distracted driving requires sound laws, rigorous enforcement and extensive public education," said David Friedman, acting administrator of the NHTSA. "This new law will improve the safety of New Mexico roads for all motorists."

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