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  • Safety Laws in New Mexico

    Seat Belts

    State law requires anyone riding in a motor vehicle that was manufactured with seat belts to wear a seat belt while the vehicle is in motion.

    Police officers have the right to pull over a vehicle just because an occupant is not obeying this law. Violators may be fined $25, have two points assessed on their license, and face possible additional fees depending on where they live.

    Child Car Seat Laws

    The rules concerning safety seats vary with the child's age.

    Children under the age of 1 year need to be properly secured in an approved rear-facing safety seat placed in the back seat of the vehicle. In a vehicle without a rear seat, place the child in a safety seat on the front passenger seat, as long as the passenger-side air bag has been deactivated.

    Children between the ages of one and five and those weighing under 40 pounds must be properly secured in an approved safety seat.

    Children ages five and six and those weighing under 60 pounds must be properly secured in an approved booster seat or another appropriate car seat.

    Children between 6 and 12 years old may be properly secured in a car seat or booster seat, or by a seat belt.

    If you're in the market for one, you can shop online for a car seat at any time. When ordering, be sure the car seat matches your child's height, weight and age.

    Penalties

    Drivers may be fined $25, have two points assessed on their license, and face possible additional fees depending on where they live for failing to properly secure children riding in their vehicle.

    Safety Seat Fitting Locations

    Those needing direction on selecting the proper safety seat should make an appointment to consult with an expert at a child safety seat fitting location.

    Additional Information

    For more information on seat belt or child safety seat laws, call the Traffic Safety Bureau at (505) 827-0427 or (800) 541-7952. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also has a lot more information.

    Cell Phones and Texting

    It is illegal for learner's permit and intermediate license holders to:

    • Text while driving.
    • Talk on a cell phone while driving.

    Headlights

    Headlights must be turned on when driving from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise, and at any other time when it's not possible to clearly see at least 500 feet ahead.

    Helmets

    Anyone under the age of 18 riding a motorcycle must wear a helmet.

    A motorcycle driver must wear protective glasses, goggles, or a faceshield if the bike doesn't have a windshield.

    Reporting Drunk Drivers

    If you suspect someone is driving under the influence, you may call (877) DWI HALT or #DWI (cell phone only) to report the driver.

    Give the operator as much specific information as possible, including the vehicle's location, license plate number, type, color, the direction it was heading, and why you suspect the driver is inebriated.

    Only use this number to report possible drunk drivers. Call 911 to report serious accidents or other dangerous situations.

    Unattended Children

    New Mexico doesn't have any specific laws addressing the issue of leaving children unattended in a vehicle.

    Leaving children in a car may risk their lives if the weather's hot or cold; subject them to accidents (children can undo parking brakes); or expose them to kidnappers.

    Knowingly or negligently putting a child in a situation in which the child's health or safety could be at risk can be considered child abuse.

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