LCSN: 411 on the cell-phone ordinance; FAQs, info

February 5, 2010. Retrieved online: February 5, 2010 from Sun-News report, Las Cruces Sun-News

LCSN: No talking: Cell phone ban in effect today

Beginning today, you’d better not be caught talking or texting on your cell phone in Las Cruces or you might end up shelling out a fine of $25 and be hit with a petty misdemeanor on your driving record.

The new ordinance requires that police witness a violation. If you get snagged, you’ll have to appear in Municipal Court, which, to add salt to the wound, doesn’t allow cell phones!

A conviction will be reported to the New Mexico Department of Motor Vehicles, which means your insurance company can see it, too, city officials now say.

It’s not cheap: a second offense will cost $50, and as much as $500 and as long as 90 days in jail for a third violation, or more.

So, what do you say? Let’s all shut up and drive.

February 3, 2010. Retrieved online: Feburary 5, 2010 from Sun-News report, Las Cruces Sun-News

LCSN: 411 on the cell-phone ordinance

For a copy of background information, provided to the Las Cruces City Council, regarding proposed fines and penalties for violating the city’s cell phone ordinance, click here.

A ban on hand-held cell phone use while driving goes into effect in Las Cruces, beginning Friday. Despite efforts to get the word out, some residents may have lingering questions. Here’s our five most frequently asked questions:

Question: Will there be a grace period before enforcing the ordinance or will citations be issued immediately?

Answer: The ordinance was approved by the Las Cruces City Council on Dec. 5. At that time the council agreed to a two-month period to educate residents about the ordinance and serve as the grace period. Enforcement begins Friday.

Question: Are motorists who drive U.S. 70, Interstate 10 or I-25 within the city limits subject to the ordinance?

Answer: Since U.S. 70, I-10 and I-25 cross within the city limits, drivers who police see using their cell phones or other mobile communications device could be cited.

Question: What is a hands-free device?

Answer: A hands-free device is anything that doesn’t require using hands to operate a cell phone. Any hands-free device is OK, including in-ear devices or equipment that can utilize a vehicle’s radio and speaker system. Hands-free devices do not necessarily have to be specific to the brand of cell phone owned by the motorist.

Question: Will there be signs posted throughout the city to remind motorists of cell phone prohibitions?

Answer: Yes. Signs in as many as 15 locations began going up Tuesday. They will include a red-colored cell phone with a circle and a slash through it, and the ordinance number will be posted on each sign. Also two billboards will be erected, one on southbound Interstate 25 near Mesilla Valley Hospital, and the other on westbound Interstate 10, between the University Avenue and Avenida de Mesilla exits.

Question: Is violation of the cell phone ordinance a traffic infraction or a misdemeanor? And will a citation count against my vehicle insurance rate?

Answer: Violation of the cell phone ordinance is a petty misdemeanor and will not count against your insurance.

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