Las Cruces Police Cracking Down On Drivers

Las Cruces – A traffic enforcement operation conducted Tuesday afternoon along Missouri Avenue netted 51 citations for violating of the city's cell phone ordinance and another 43 citations for various other offenses.

The operation was conducted between 1:30 and 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3, along Missouri Avenue between Payne Street and Don Roser Drive. Las Cruces Police officers cited 51 motorists for violating municipal ordinance 27-12-6-12.18 which prohibits drivers from using a cell phone without a hands-free device.

Officers also issued 43 citations for miscellaneous traffic offenses. Two motorists were arrested after officers discovered one with an outstanding warrant and another driving on a suspended license.

The city's cell phone ordinance went into effect Feb. 5, 2010. The penalty for violating the ordinance is $92. That includes a $56 fine plus the $36 mandatory court fee.

The ordinance prohibits cell phone use while driving within city limits. The ban includes engaging in a phone call or creating, sending and reading text messages or e-mail while operating a motor vehicle.

Engaging in a conversation on a cell phone is permitted within city limits if the driver is utilizing a hands-free device and the use does not interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle.

Not counting today's operation, the Las Cruces Police Department has issued 274 citations, from Feb. 5 through June, to motorists who violated the city's cell phone ordinance.