2019 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 66 - Motor Vehicles
Article 8 - Crimes, Penalties and Procedure
Part 2 - TRAFFIC OFFENSES
Section 66-8-114 - Careless driving.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 66-8-114 (2019)

A. Any person operating a vehicle on the highway shall give his full time and entire attention to the operation of the vehicle.

B. Any person who operates a vehicle in a careless, inattentive or imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, weather and road conditions and all other attendant circumstances is guilty of a misdemeanor.

History: 1953 Comp., § 64-22-3.1, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 169, § 12; recompiled as 1953 Comp., § 64-8-114, by Laws 1978, ch. 35, § 522.

ANNOTATIONS

Cross references. — For the penalty for a misdemeanor, see 66-8-7 NMSA 1978.

Section not vague. — This section prohibits driving while not paying enough attention under the existing circumstances; the fact that one cannot predict what the circumstances might be does not make the section vague. State v. Baldonado, 1978-NMCA-111, 92 N.M. 272, 587 P.2d 50, cert. denied, 92 N.M. 260, 586 P.2d 1089.

Words of section are clear and definite, and give fair warning of the proscribed activity. State v. Baldonado, 1978-NMCA-111, 92 N.M. 272, 587 P.2d 50, cert. denied, 92 N.M. 260, 586 P.2d 1089.

Ordinary meaning of section's words apply. — Since no statutory definitions of "careless," "inattentive" or "imprudent" are given in this section, their ordinary meanings apply. State v. Baldonado, 1978-NMCA-111, 92 N.M. 272, 587 P.2d 50, cert. denied, 92 N.M. 260, 586 P.2d 1089.

Definition of "careless driving" encompasses driving straight through an intersection with one's turn signal on. State v. Benjamin C., 1989-NMCA-075, 109 N.M. 67, 781 P.2d 795, cert. denied, 109 N.M. 54, 781 P.2d 782.

"Highway." — Careless driving, as defined in this section, cannot be committed in a parking lot, because a parking lot does not fall within the plain meaning or the statutory definition of "highway." State v. Brennan, 1998-NMCA-176, 126 N.M. 389, 970 P.2d 161, cert. denied, 126 N.M. 532, 972 P.2d 351.

DWI test predicated on careless driving stop in parking lot valid. — Although careless driving cannot be committed in a parking lot, police officer who witnessed defendant driving at an excessive speed in a crowded parking lot had reasonable, although mistaken, suspicion to stop defendant, and, thus, such stop could be the predicate for a DWI test. State v. Brennan, 1998-NMCA-176, 126 N.M. 389, 970 P.2d 161, cert. denied, 126 N.M. 532, 972 P.2d 351.

Warrantless home arrest not merited. — The minor offenses of careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident do not merit the extraordinary recourse of warrantless home arrest. Howard v. Dickerson, 34 F.3d 978 (10th Cir. 1994).

There is no such crime as homicide by vehicle by careless driving. State v. Yazzie, 1993-NMCA-101, 116 N.M. 83, 860 P.2d 213, overruled on other grounds by State v. Yarborough, 1996-NMSC-068, 122 N.M. 596, 930 P.2d 131.

Section not a basis for involuntary manslaughter. — Involuntary manslaughter cannot be based upon a violation of the careless driving statute, which requires a showing of only civil negligence. State v. Yarborough, 1995-NMCA-116, 120 N.M. 669, 905 P.2d 209, aff'd, 1996-NMSC-068, 122 N.M. 596, 930 P.2d 131.

Proof of careless driving. — Careless driving requires a showing of only ordinary or civil negligence, and is therefore an improper predicate offense for involuntary manslaughter. State v. Yarborough, 1996-NMSC-068, 122 N.M. 596, 930 P.2d 131.

Duress does not negate an essential element of the charged offense. — Where defendant was charged with aggravated DWI and careless driving, and where defendant claimed that circumstances required her to drive in violation of the law, the metropolitan court did not err in refusing defendant's tendered instruction that imbedded the absence of duress as an essential element of careless driving, because a defendant pleading duress is not attempting to disprove a requisite mental state, but defendants in that context are instead attempting to show that they ought to be excused from criminal liability because of the circumstances surrounding their intentional act. State v. Percival, 2017-NMCA-042.

Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. — 7A Am. Jur. 2d Automobiles and Highway Traffic §§ 321 to 323.

Physical defect, illness, drowsiness, or falling asleep of motor vehicle operator as affecting liability for injury, 28 A.L.R.2d 12, 93 A.L.R.3d 326, 1 A.L.R.4th 556.

Liability for injury occurring when clothing of one outside motor vehicle is caught as vehicle is put in motion, 43 A.L.R.2d 1282.

Overcrowding motor vehicle or riding in unusual position thereon as affecting liability for injury or damage, 44 A.L.R.2d 238.

Gross negligence, recklessness, or the like, within "guest" statute, predicated upon conduct in passing cars ahead or position of car on wrong side of the road, 6 A.L.R.3d 832.

Admissibility of evidence of habit, customary behavior, or reputation as to care of motor vehicle driver or occupant, on question of his care at time of occurrence giving rise to his injury or death, 29 A.L.R.3d 791.

Motor vehicle operator's liability for accident occurring while driving with vision obscured by smoke or steam, 32 A.L.R.4th 933.

Civil liability arising from use of cell phone while driving. 36 A.L.R.6th 443

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