NM Cell Phone Ban Passes House

New Mexico – Legislation that would prohibit drivers across New Mexico from using hand-held cell phones for talking or texting has been approved by the House.

The proposed statewide ban has the support of Gov. Bill Richardson. He said in his state-of-the-state speech at the start of the legislative session that distracted drivers are a "menace to our streets."

The bill would make New Mexico the nation's seventh state to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, both for talking and texting.

Under the measure, violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and ordered to pay a $25 fine.

Some of New Mexico's largest cities Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces already have municipal ordinances that bar cell phone use by drivers.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.