HOUSE CONSUMER AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR
HOUSE BILL 475
48th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2007
RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES; ESTABLISHING PENALTY ASSESSMENTS FOR VIOLATION OF PROVISIONS OF THE MANDATORY FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT; CLARIFYING PROCEDURES FOLLOWING THE ISSUANCE OF A CITATION FOR VIOLATION OF THE MANDATORY FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT; ALLOWING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO VERIFY FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY BY CHECKING COMPUTER DATABASES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
Section 1. Section 66-5-201.1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1983, Chapter 318, Section 2, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-5-201.1. PURPOSE.--The legislature is aware that motor vehicle accidents in New Mexico can result in catastrophic financial hardship. The purpose of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act is to require residents of New Mexico who own and operate motor vehicles upon the highways of the state either to have the ability to respond in damages to accidents arising out of the use and operation of a motor vehicle or to obtain a motor vehicle insurance policy."
Section 2. Section 66-5-205 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1983, Chapter 318, Section 6, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-5-205. VEHICLE MUST BE INSURED OR OWNER MUST HAVE EVIDENCE OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY--PENALTIES.--
A. No owner shall permit the operation of an uninsured motor vehicle, or a motor vehicle for which evidence of financial responsibility as was affirmed to the department is not currently valid, upon the streets or highways of New Mexico unless the vehicle is specifically exempted from the provisions of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act.
B. No person shall drive an uninsured motor vehicle, or a motor vehicle for which evidence of financial responsibility as was affirmed to the department is not currently valid, upon the streets or highways of New Mexico unless [he] the person is specifically exempted from the provisions of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act.
C. For the purposes of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act, "uninsured motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle for which a motor vehicle insurance policy meeting the requirements of the laws of New Mexico and of the secretary, or a surety bond or evidence of a sufficient cash deposit with the state treasurer, is not in effect [or a surety bond or evidence of a sufficient cash deposit with the state treasurer].
D. The provisions of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act requiring the deposit of evidence of financial responsibility as provided in Section 66-5-218 NMSA 1978, subject to certain exemptions, may apply with respect to persons who have been convicted of or forfeited bail for certain offenses under motor vehicle laws or who have failed to pay judgments or written settlement agreements upon causes of action arising out of ownership, maintenance or use of vehicles of a type subject to registration under the laws of New Mexico.
E. Any person who violates the provisions of this section [is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be sentenced to a fine not to exceed three hundred dollars ($300)] commits a penalty assessment misdemeanor for which the penalty assessment is provided in Section 66-8-116 NMSA 1978."
Section 3. Section 66-5-205.1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1989, Chapter 214, Section 1, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-5-205.1. UNINSURED MOTORIST CITATION--REQUIREMENTS TO BE FOLLOWED AT TIME OF [ACCIDENT] CITATION--SUBSEQUENT PROCEDURES--INSURER NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS--SUSPENSION PROCEDURES.--
A. When a law enforcement officer issues to a driver [who is involved in an accident] a citation for failure to comply with the provisions of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act, the law enforcement officer shall at the same time:
(1) issue to the driver cited a temporary operation sticker that indicates the motor vehicle is in violation of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act, valid for thirty days after the date the sticker is issued, and forward by mail or delivery to the department a duplicate of the issued sticker; and
(2) remove the license plate from the vehicle and send it with the duplicate of the sticker to the department or, if it cannot be removed, permanently deface the plate.
B. The department shall return or replace, in its discretion, a license plate removed under the provisions of Paragraph (2) of Subsection A of this section or replace a license plate defaced under that paragraph when the person cited for failure to comply with the provisions of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act furnishes proof of compliance to the department and pays to the division a reinstatement fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00). If a person to whom the temporary operation sticker is issued furnishes to the department, within fifteen days after the issuance of the sticker, evidence of financial responsibility in compliance with the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act and in effect on the date and at the time of the issuance of the sticker, the department shall replace or return the license plate and waive the twenty-five-dollar ($25.00) reinstatement fee.
C. The secretary shall adopt and promulgate rules prescribing the form and use of the sticker required to be issued under Subsection A of this section.
D. The secretary shall adopt and promulgate rules requiring insurance carriers to report canceled, terminated and newly issued motor vehicle insurance policies each month to the department. Information pertaining to each motor vehicle shall be made a part of that vehicle file for one year.
E. Within ten days of notification by the insurance carrier of a termination or cancellation of a motor vehicle insurance policy, the department shall demand satisfactory evidence from the owner of the motor vehicle that [he] the owner meets the requirements of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act. Failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility within twenty days after the department has mailed its demand for proof:
(1) constitutes reasonable grounds to believe that a person is operating a motor vehicle in violation of the provisions of Section 66-5-205 NMSA 1978; and
(2) requires the department to suspend the person's registration as provided in Section 66-5-236 NMSA 1978.
F. The department shall notify the superintendent of insurance if an insurance carrier fails to provide monthly reports to the department regarding motor vehicle insurance policy information as required by Subsection D of this section."
Section 4. Section 66-5-229 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1978, Chapter 35, Section 318, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-5-229. DURATION OF EVIDENCE--WHEN FILING OF EVIDENCE
MAY BE WAIVED--PENALTY.--
A. The department shall, upon request, consent to the immediate cancellation of any bond or the department shall direct and the state treasurer shall return to the person entitled thereto any money deposited pursuant to the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act as evidence of financial responsibility or the department shall waive the requirement of filing evidence of financial responsibility in any of the following events:
(1) after one year of providing satisfactory evidence as specified in Section 66-5-218 NMSA 1978;
(2) the death of the person on whose behalf evidence was filed or the permanent incapacity of the person to operate a motor vehicle; or
(3) the person who has filed evidence surrenders [his] the person's license and registration to the department.
B. [Provided, however, that] The department shall not consent to the cancellation of any bond or the return of any money or waive the requirement of filing evidence of financial responsibility in the event any action for damages upon a liability covered by the evidence is then pending or any judgment upon any such liability is then unsatisfied or in the event the person who has filed the bond or deposited the money has, within one year immediately preceding the request, been involved as a driver or owner in any motor vehicle accident resulting in injury or damage to the person or property of others. An affidavit of the applicant as to the nonexistence of such facts or that [he] the applicant has been released from all of [his] the applicant's liability or has been finally adjudicated not to be liable for such injury or damage shall be sufficient evidence thereof in the absence of evidence to the contrary in the records of the department.
C. Every owner or operator of a vehicle subject to the requirements of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act shall carry evidence of financial responsibility as defined by that act in the vehicle at all times while the vehicle is in operation on the highways of this state. The failure to comply with this subsection shall be a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by the penalty set forth in Section 66-8-7 NMSA 1978; provided that a law enforcement officer shall not charge a person with a violation of this section if the officer can verify the person's compliance with the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act by checking a computer database of motor vehicle information immediately available to the officer; and provided further that no person charged with violating this section shall be convicted if [he] the person produces in court evidence of financial responsibility valid at the time of issuance of the citation."
Section 5. Section 66-8-116 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1978, Chapter 35, Section 524, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-8-116. PENALTY ASSESSMENT MISDEMEANORS--
DEFINITION--SCHEDULE OF ASSESSMENTS.--
A. As used in the Motor Vehicle Code, "penalty assessment misdemeanor" means violation of any of the following listed sections of the NMSA 1978 for which, except as provided in Subsection D of this section, the listed penalty assessment is established:
COMMON NAME OF OFFENSE SECTION VIOLATED PENALTY
minor to drive 66-5-40 $ 10.00
Failure to obey sign 66-7-104 10.00
Failure to obey signal 66-7-105 10.00
(1) up to and including
ten miles an hour
over the speed limit 15.00
(2) from eleven up to
and including fifteen
miles an hour
over the speed limit 30.00
(3) from sixteen up to
and including twenty
miles an hour over the
speed limit 65.00
(4) from twenty-one up to
and including twenty-five
miles an hour
over the speed limit 100.00
(5) from twenty-six up to
and including thirty
miles an hour over the
speed limit 125.00
(6) from thirty-one up to
and including thirty-five
miles an hour over the
speed limit 150.00
(7) more than thirty-five
miles an hour over the
speed limit 200.00
Unfastened safety belt 66-7-372 25.00
Child not in restraint device
or seat belt 66-7-369 25.00
Minimum speed 66-7-305 10.00
Speeding 66-7-306 15.00
Improper starting 66-7-324 10.00
Improper backing 66-7-354 10.00
Improper lane 66-7-308 10.00
Improper lane 66-7-313 10.00
Improper lane 66-7-316 10.00
Improper lane 66-7-317 10.00
Improper lane 66-7-319 10.00
Improper passing 66-7-309 through 66-7-312 10.00
Improper passing 66-7-315 10.00
violation 66-7-320 10.00
violation 66-7-321 10.00
Improper turning 66-7-322 10.00
Improper turning 66-7-323 10.00
Improper turning 66-7-325 10.00
Following too closely 66-7-318 10.00
Failure to yield 66-7-328 through 66-7-331 10.00
Failure to yield 66-7-332 50.00
Failure to yield 66-7-332.1 25.00
Pedestrian violation 66-7-333 10.00
Pedestrian violation 66-7-340 10.00
Failure to stop 66-7-342 and 66-7-344
through 66-7-346 10.00
crossing violation 66-7-341 and 66-7-343 10.00
Passing school bus 66-7-347 100.00
Failure to signal 66-7-325 through 66-7-327 10.00
Failure to secure load 66-7-407 100.00
Operation without oversize-
overweight permit 66-7-413 50.00
Improper equipment 66-3-801 10.00
Improper equipment 66-3-901 20.00
signal 66-3-853 through 66-3-857 10.00
Operation interference 66-7-357 5.00
Littering 66-7-364 300.00
Improper parking 66-7-349 through 66-7-352
and 66-7-353 5.00
Improper parking 66-3-852 5.00
Failure to dim lights 66-3-831 10.00
Riding in or towing
occupied house trailer 66-7-366 5.00
Improper opening of doors 66-7-367 5.00
No slow-moving vehicle
emblem or flashing
amber light 66-3-887 5.00
Open container - first
violation 66-8-138 25.00
Uninsured motor vehicle 66-5-205 150.00.
B. The term "penalty assessment misdemeanor" does not include a violation that has caused or contributed to the cause of an accident resulting in injury or death to a person.
C. When an alleged violator of a penalty assessment misdemeanor elects to accept a notice to appear in lieu of a notice of penalty assessment, a fine imposed upon later conviction shall not exceed the penalty assessment established for the particular penalty assessment misdemeanor and probation imposed upon a suspended or deferred sentence shall not exceed ninety days; provided that a fine imposed upon a later conviction for a violation of Section 66-5-205 NMSA 1978 shall not be less than the penalty assessment established in Subsection A of this section for a violation of Section
66-5-205 NMSA 1978, nor shall the fine be suspended, deferred or taken under advisement.
D. The penalty assessment for speeding in violation of Paragraph (4) of Subsection A of Section 66-7-301 NMSA 1978 is twice the penalty assessment established in Subsection A of this section for the equivalent miles per hour over the speed limit."
Section 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2007.
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