Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Law enforcers ready to clamp down on texting drivers


July 1, 2014

QCS Staff

On Tuesday, texting while driving became illegal in New Mexico, and local law enforcement agencies are more than eager to put a damper on the dangerous practice.

“If we see them texting,” Sheriff Joe Schallert said, “we’ll write a ticket.”

What happens next, he said, will depend “on the officer and the circumstances.”

Some officers will be content to issue warnings in the first several weeks that the law is in effect and others will add fines to those first tickets.

Tucumcari’s police officers are more likely to issue warnings to first-time offenders in the early going, Assistant Chief Pete Rivera said. That will be part of the police department’s campaign to increase awareness that texting while driving, while never recommended, is now a crime.

“We know when they’re texting,” Rivera said, “and when we catch them, we’ll let them know” that texting while driving is now illegal.

“We’ll be lenient for a bit,” he said, “but after that it won’t be tolerated.”

The coming crackdown,however, he said, will “hopefully cut back on crashes.”

The new law makes texting while driving a misdemeanor. On first offense, the fine is $25. On following offenses, the fine rises to $50.


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