New Mexico Bans Texting While Driving, Now Only Legal In Six States

Go ahead and check one more state off the list of where you're not allowed to text message while driving. New Mexico is catching up with the majority of the country with a ban intended to prevent distracted driving that goes into effect tomorrow (Tuesday), after which offenders will be hit with a $25 fine for the first violation and $50 fine for subsequent infractions.

New Mexico's ban states that a person shall not read or view a text or manually type on a mobile communication device while driving a motor vehicle, the only exception being to contact emergency help. The law applies to all drivers.

"A lot of vehicle complaints we receive about people being drunk, when we contact them, they aren't intoxicated. They are messing with their phone," Farmington police Sgt. Dave Monfils told The Daily Times.

Texting and Driving
Image Source: Flickr (cwazniak)

Following New Mexico's ban, only six states remain that don't yet have laws on the books banning texting while driving for all drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Those states include Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Some of those states have laws in place that prohibit texting while driving by school bus drivers and novice drivers, but none of them ban the practice for every single driver.

The dangers of texting while driving have been in the spotlight over the last few years. According to a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, texting while driving contributes to more than 3,000 annual teen deaths nationwide and 300,000 injuries. Those figures mean texting while driving is now a greater risk to teens than drinking and driving, which contributes to an estimated 2,700 teen driving deaths and 282,000 injuries per year.