New Mexico lawmakers may raise fines for texting behind the wheel

State Senator Steven Neville, R-Aztec, has introduced a bill that would increase fines for texting while driving, if enacted. Last month we explained in detail New Mexico's existing state law against texting while driving.

The bill's proposals

If the bill is enacted, the fine for a first violation of the state ban would increase to $100 from $25, and for a subsequent violation, to $100 from $50. (Albuquerque already fines texting-behind-the-wheel violations at $100 for first offense by city ordinance.) For commercial drivers, the fine of $25 would increase the same amount for a first offense, but would jump from $25 to $200 for a subsequent violation.

The legislation would also increase fines for both reckless and careless driving.

The bill was referred to the senate committees on public affairs and on the judiciary for initial review on January 17.

Distracted driving

KRQE News 13 says that Senator Neville was inspired to sponsor this bill after experiencing the death of a friend in an accident involving a distracted driver. He commented that the current low fine is not enough of a deterrent for people to stop the behavior and that police are not as motivated to enforce the texting ban.

According to the bill's Fiscal Impact Report, about one-fifth of motor vehicle accidents were caused by "driver inattention" in 2014, citing the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Seek legal advice

Anyone who is injured in a car accident by a distracted driver should speak with an attorney immediately to learn about potential legal remedies like a personal injury lawsuit. If a loved one has died in such a crash, the survivors may be able to file a wrongful death action.

In Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico, the law firm of Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; Jacobus has personal injury attorneys who handle motor vehicle accident cases and can specifically provide advice to injury victims and their families regarding how to proceed in the wake of an accident-related injury.

Contact Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; P.C., at (505) 273-3720 to set up an appointment or visit the firm's website at giddenslaw.com. Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; P.C., is located at 10400 Academy Road N.E., Suite 350, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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