New Mexico Laws
New Mexico Child Restraint and Safety Belt Use Acts
has a history of providing technical support for legislative and policy changes in cooperation with community liaisons and other advocacy groups. For example, in 2001, the New Mexico Child Restraint and Safety Belt Use Act was amended to include all seating positions and to require child safety seats for all children under the age of five. It was further amended in 2005, requiring booster seat use for all children ages five and six or children who weigh less than 60 pounds, and for many children through the age of 12 who do not fit properly in an adult seat belt.
New Mexico Child Restraint Act: 66-7-369
Effective June 17, 2005
All persons under 18 years of age must be properly secured in a child restraint device (car seat) or by a seat belt, unless all seating positions with seat belts are occupied as follows:
- Children under one year of age must be properly secured in a rear-facing child safety seat that meets federal standards in the back seat of the vehicle. If the vehicle does not have a back seat, the child may ride in the front seat of the vehicle if the passenger-side air bag is deactivated if possible.
- Children under five years of age, regardless of weight, and children under 40 pounds, regardless of age, shall be properly secured in a child safety seat (car seat or booster seat) that meets federal standards.
- Five and six year olds, regardless of weight, and children under 60 pounds, regardless of age, shall be properly secured in either a child booster seat or other appropriate car seat that meets federal standards.
- Children 12 years and under shall be properly secured in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt. A child is properly secured in a seat belt if, when the child sits all the way back in the vehicle seat, the lap belt fits across his hips (not stomach), and the shoulder belt fits across the center of his chest and does not hit his neck, and his knees are bent over the edge of the vehicle seat. If the child does not fit properly in a seat belt, they should still be in a child safety seat (car seat or booster seat).
- The child restraint act applies to all passenger cars, vans, and pick-up trucks. It also includes daycare vans. Authorized emergency vehicles, public transportation, and school buses are exempt.
- The fine for violating the New Mexico Child Restraint Act is $25.00, two points on the offender's license, and additional fees (depending on jurisdiction).
New Mexico Safety Belt Use Act: 66-7-372
Effective July 15, 2001
Each occupant of a motor vehicle, having a gross vehicle weight of ten thousand pounds or less and manufactured with safety belts, shall have a safety belt properly fastened about his/her body at all times when the vehicle is in motion on any street or highway.
The fine for violating the New Mexico Safety Belt Use Act is $25.00, two points on the offender's driver license, and additional fees, depending on jurisdiction.