Fearing a loss of federal highway funds if it does not comply with federal guidelines, the New Mexico legislature has passed a bill that would impose stricter fines and penalties for truckers who violate safety rules.

The bill, signed by the governor yesterday, increases penalties for violating out-of-service orders to a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $2,500. Current law imposes fines of only $10 to $25. Drivers who violate an out-of-service order could lose their CDLs for 90 days to a year. Two such violations within ten years brings a suspension of one to five years.
Truck drivers can also be disqualified for a minimum of one year if they refuse to submit to a "chemical" test, are convicted of driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, leaving the scene of an accident, or using a commercial vehicle in the commission of any felony. The disqualification jumps to three years of the driver was hauling hazardous materials.
Truckers can lose their licenses for a minimum 60 days if convicted of two serious traffic violations in a commercial vehicle within a three-year period. The suspension is 120 days for three serious traffic violations.