New Mexico joins 41 other states in fighting distracted driving

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The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) reminds New Mexicans that the state’s prohibition of texting while driving went into effect July 1.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) reminds New Mexicans that the state’s prohibition of texting while driving went into effect July 1.

“Texting while driving is now the leading cause of death for teen drivers,” said Gov. Susana Martinez. “There is no text message, no Facebook post, no tweet, worth a person’s life. All of us can play a role in keeping our roads safe — and that means keeping our eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and our minds on driving safely.”

Martinez signed New Mexico’s texting while driving ban into law in March. It prohibits texting while operating a motor vehicle, except when summoning medical or other emergency help.

Violators will be fined $25 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent violations. New Mexico became the 42nd state to ban texting while driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sending or receiving a text message takes an average of five seconds, which at 55 miles per hour is the time it takes to travel the length of a football field. Studies also show that texting while behind the wheel is the same as driving after having consumed four beers.

When Martinez signed the texting while driving prohibition into law, NMDOT unveiled the latest in a series of commercials geared towards spreading the word about the dangers of texting while driving, as well as a mobile app, DNTXT.

When activated, the app silences incoming text messages and sends an auto-reply message to the sender notifying that the user is driving and cannot respond.