8:53am

Wed January 29, 2014
Local and State News

NM Senate Panel OKs Texting Ban for Drivers

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to ban texting while driving has cleared an initial hurdle in the Legislature.

The Senate Public Affairs Committee unanimously endorsed the proposal yesterday to prohibit drivers from sending or reading a text message and email or making an Internet search from a cell phone or other handheld communications device. There would be a $25 fine for a first violation and $50 for subsequent violations.

Democratic Sen. Peter Wirth of Santa Fe said texting distracts a driver and increases the chances of a traffic accident.

Forty-one other states ban texting by all drivers

New Mexico prohibits texting for teenage drivers with a learner's or provisional license. But texting bans for all drivers have failed in the Legislature since 2009.

The bill goes to another committee for consideration.