Las Cruces – Rep. Antonio Lujan (D-Las Cruces) introduced HB 197, a bill that would prohibit the use of an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text message while operating a motor vehicle, in the House of Representatives today.
Rep. Lujan said, "This is a simple, straight forward bill. It would make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while text messaging. I have introduced this bill for a few years now because I find it to be an important public safety measure. This will ultimately save lives."
Under the proposal, texting would be allowed to report illegal activity, summon emergency help, prevent injury to another person or property, in the operation of an authorized emergency vehicle, or to relay information between a transit or for-hire operator and that operator's dispatcher when the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle.
The bill provides graduated penalties for texting while driving. First offenses would incur a $25 fine, second offenses levy a $50 penalty and being caught a third time texting and driving could result in a driver's license suspension for up to 90 days.
House Bill 197 heads to the Consumer and Public Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.