House passes legislation to ban cell phone use while driving

-A A +A
By Susan M. Bryan

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Legislation that would prohibit drivers in New Mexico from using hand-held cell phones for talking or texting was narrowly approved by the House on Tuesday.

The bill would make New Mexico the seventh state to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Some of New Mexico's largest cities — Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces — already have municipal ordinances that bar cell phone use for drivers.

Under the proposed statewide ban, violators would face a misdemeanor penalty of $25.

"I hold firm that this a serious safety issue," Rep. Antonio Lujan, D-Las Cruces, told the House before the 35-30 vote.

Critics of the legislation argued that the state already has laws that address distracted driving and that the use of cell phones qualifies as another distraction, like putting on makeup, eating a hamburger or tending to children in the back seat.

"It's not just a cell phone. It's a thought about where you're going, what you're planning to do next, daydreaming," said Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Farmington. "The big problem we have is driver inattention. How do you really cure that problem?"

Critics also argued that it would be difficult to enforce and would be simply a revenue generator for the state.

If you subscribe to the newspaper, you receive FREE access to all the exclusive content of the web site! Simply register to receive uninterrupted access to our award-winning and in-depth local online content!

Renew Current or Past Subscription / Register for Online Subscription

If you currently subscribe or have subscribed in the past to the Los Alamos Monitor, then simply find your account number on your mailing label and enter it below.

Click the question mark below to see where your account ID appears on your mailing label.

Newspaper Acct. ID:
Street Address:
(exactly as it appears on the label)

If you are a subscriber and you do not know your account ID or don't have a copy of your newspaper available that shows the information on the address label you can click continue below to search for your account.

New Subscription/30 Day Free Trial Account

If you are new to the award winning Los Alamos Monitor and wish to get a subscription or simply gain access to our online content then please enter your ZIP code below and continue to setup your account.

ZIP Code:

Create a limited access account.
Register to participate in community forums, post on the community calendar, blog etc. This registration does not give you full access to read our award winning content, etc.

The Los Alamos Monitor | lacirculation@lamonitor.com | 505-662-4185
256 DP Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday