HOUSE BILL 116
51st legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2013
RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES; REQUIRING ALL VEHICLE PASSENGERS TO BE RESTRAINED REGARDLESS OF THE PASSENGER'S AGE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 66-7-369 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1983, Chapter 252, Section 2, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-7-369. CHILD PASSENGER RESTRAINT--ENFORCEMENT.--
A. A person shall not operate a passenger car, van or pickup truck in this state, except for an authorized emergency vehicle, public transportation or a school bus, unless all passengers [less than eighteen years of age] are properly restrained.
B. Each person less than eighteen years of age shall be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device or by a safety belt [unless all seating positions equipped with safety belts are occupied] as follows:
(1) children less than one year of age shall be properly secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint device that meets federal standards, in the rear seat of a vehicle that is equipped with a rear seat. If the vehicle is not equipped with a rear seat, the child may ride in the front seat of the vehicle if the passenger-side air bag is deactivated or if the vehicle is not equipped with a deactivation switch for the passenger-side air bag;
(2) children one year of age through four years of age, regardless of weight, or children who weigh less than forty pounds, regardless of age, shall be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device that meets federal standards;
(3) children five years of age through six years of age, regardless of weight, or children who weigh less than sixty pounds, regardless of age, shall be properly secured in either a child booster seat or an appropriate child passenger restraint device that meets federal standards; and
(4) children seven years of age through twelve years of age shall be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device or by a seat belt.
C. A child is properly secured in an adult seat belt when the lap belt properly fits across the child's thighs and hips and not the abdomen. The shoulder strap shall cross the center of the child's chest and not the neck, allowing the child to sit all the way back against the vehicle seat with knees bent over the seat edge.
D. Failure to be secured by a child passenger restraint device, by a child booster seat or by a safety belt as required by this section shall not in any instance constitute fault or negligence and shall not limit or apportion damages."
SECTION 2. Section 66-7-372 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1985, Chapter 131, Section 3, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-7-372. SAFETY BELT USE REQUIRED--EXCEPTION.--
A. Except as provided by [Section 66-7-369 NMSA 1978 and in] Subsection B of this section, each occupant of a motor vehicle having a gross vehicle weight of ten thousand pounds or less manufactured with safety belts in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standard number 208 shall have a safety belt properly fastened about [his] the occupant's body at all times when the vehicle is in motion on any street or highway.
B. This section shall not apply to an occupant of a motor vehicle having a gross vehicle weight of ten thousand pounds or less who possesses a written statement from a licensed physician that [he] the occupant is unable for medical reasons to wear a safety belt or to a rural letter carrier of the United States postal service while performing the duties of a rural letter carrier."
SECTION 3. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2013.
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