Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Contact: Nathan Naylor, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today applauded New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez for signing a new law that prohibits text messaging while driving, making New Mexico the 42nd state to prohibit texting behind the wheel by all drivers.
"I applaud Governor Martinez and the New Mexico legislature for sending a clear message that texting while driving will not be tolerated," said Secretary 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."
New Mexico's law allows for primary enforcement, meaning an officer can stop and ticket a driver solely for texting while driving. New Mexico's law is also enforceable while drivers are temporarily stopped because of traffic or at a traffic light. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2014 and violators will be fined $25 for a 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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "This new law will improve the safety of New Mexico roads for all motorists."
New Mexico and 41 other states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging by all drivers. Twelve states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands prohibit all hand-held cell phone use while driving.
In 2009, U.S. DOT launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America. To help further raise awareness, the Department also launched Distraction.gov, a dedicated website that provides the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving.