With the introduction of more cell phone technology, states and cities have started to crack down on distracted driving. Distracted driving offenses are not limited to the use of cell phones—after all, people are still eating, applying makeup and doing the Carly Rae Jepson “Call Me Maybe” dance behind the wheel. Still, a great number of accidents have been attributed to cell phone use.
In an attempt to make roads safer, many states and cities around the country have already started to put restrictions on the use of cell phones while driving…and Albuquerque has joined their ranks.
The Laws in New Mexico and Albuquerque
Unfortunately, the State of New Mexico has not put any restrictions on the type of communication that you can have through a cell phone while driving. This leaves the majority of New Mexico unprotected against drivers distracted by texts and phone calls.
In Albuquerque, as well as in Santa Fe, there are laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving, unless a hands-free device is used. In Albuquerque, it is illegal to:
- Create, read or send text messages while driving
- Speak on a cell phone without the use of a hands-free device
If you are caught performing any of these actions:
- The penalty for a first offense is a fine of $100
- 2nd offenses and after carries a penalty of a $200 fine
Honestly, these penalties are fairly mild. However, these really aren’t the only penalties a distracted driver faces if he/she causes an accident. These fines are only the amounts owed to the City if you’re caught. If you cause an accident, those injured can sue, and personal injury lawsuits can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, settlements…and your insurance premiums go up.
Be Aware on the Road
The actual cost of distracted driving isn’t worth taking the call or sending the text now. You can make the roads safer by being totally aware of the situation around you. Check your mirrors, stay alert and obey all traffic laws! Report those who are driving recklessly or who are violating the hands-free restriction. Stay safe out there, ABQ!