2021 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 66 - Motor Vehicles
Article 7 - Traffic Laws; Signs, Signals and Markings; Accidents; Weight and Size; Traffic Safety
Section 66-7-318 - Following too closely.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 66-7-318 (2021)

A. The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.

B. The driver of any motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle when traveling upon a roadway outside of a business or residence district shall not follow another motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle within three hundred feet, except that this shall not prevent a motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle from overtaking and passing by any like vehicle or other vehicle.

C. Motor vehicles being driven upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district in a caravan or motorcade whether or not towing other vehicles shall not follow the preceding vehicle closer than three hundred feet. This provision shall not apply to funeral processions, nor shall it apply within or outside of a business or residence district to motor vehicle escort vehicles of a motor vehicle escort service, which may, if necessary to maintain the continuity of the escorted unit or units, precede or follow at a distance closer than three hundred feet to the escorted unit or units.

History: 1941 Comp., § 68-2417, enacted by Laws 1953, ch. 139, § 72; 1953 Comp., § 64-18-17; Laws 1971, ch. 255, § 2; recompiled as 1953 Comp., § 64-7-318, by Laws 1978, ch. 35, § 422.


Cross references. — For the definitions of "business district" and "residence district", see 66-1-4.2 and 66-1-4.15 NMSA 1978, respectively.

For the penalty assessment for violation, see 66-8-116 NMSA 1978.

Violation is proper question for jury. — Violations of Sections 64-18-4, 1953 Comp. (similar to Section 66-7-305 NMSA 1978) (driving so slow as to impede traffic), 64-18-49, 1953 Comp. (similar to Section 66-7-349 NMSA 1978) (stopping on a highway) and Subsection A of this section (following too closely), which were enacted for the benefit of the public, were proper questions for jury. Archuleta v. Johnston, 1971-NMCA-158, 83 N.M. 380, 492 P.2d 997, cert. denied, 83 N.M. 379, 492 P.2d 996.

Violation is negligence per se. — Where an ordinance, in force at the time of a collision, is substantially the same as Subsection A of this section, and there is substantial evidence of its violation, it is error not to instruct the jury that violation of the ordinance constitutes negligence per se, or as a matter of law. Rogers v. Thomas, 1970-NMCA-089, 81 N.M. 723, 472 P.2d 986.

The fact that defendant rear-ended the plaintiffs' vehicle, while being aware of the busy traffic conditions, with the sun in his eyes, was strong evidence that he followed another vehicle more closely than was reasonable and prudent, in violation of this section which constituted negligence per se. Lozoya v. Sanchez, 2003-NMSC-009, 133 N.M. 579, 66 P.3d 948, abrogated Heath v. La Mariana Apartments, 2008-NMSC-017, 143 N.M. 657, 180 P.3d 664.

Section not unconstitutionally vague. — Where defendant was charged with DWI after his vehicle was stopped for following too closely behind another vehicle, and where defendant moved to suppress evidence of intoxication obtained after the stop, claiming that 66-7-318 NMSA 1978 is unconstitutionally vague and that the officer therefore lacked reasonable suspicion to stop his vehicle, the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to suppress, because the "reasonable and prudent" standard provided in this section provides adequate notice to drivers of what driving behavior is proscribed by the statute and does not invite ad hoc application or inconsistent enforcement. State v. Chavez, 2018-NMCA-056.

Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. — 7A Am. Jur. 2d Automobiles and Highway Traffic § 261.

Liability for injury or damages resulting from operation of vehicle in funeral procession or in procession, which is claimed to have special status, 52 A.L.R. 5th 155.

60A C.J.S. Motor Vehicles §§ 323(2), 326.

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