Do You Need a Front License Plate in New Mexico?

Navigating the nuances of traffic laws is essential for any driver, as they ensure your safety and keep you compliant with state regulations. Understanding specific requirements, such as whether you need a front license plate in New Mexico, can help you avoid fines and penalties. 

New Mexico Does Not Require a Front License Plate

New Mexico is among the states that do not mandate the display of a front license plate on your vehicle. In contrast to many other states where dual plates are required, New Mexico only issues and requires a rear license plate. 

Bills Introduced to Require Rear License Plates in New Mexico

In New Mexico, legislation regarding the requirement of front license plates has been a topic of debate for years. Various bills have been introduced in an effort to mandate that vehicles display a plate on both the front and rear. Despite these efforts, legislators continue to shut down these proposals. 

Arguments For Having a Front License Plate

There are several compelling arguments for instituting a requirement to have front license plates on vehicles in New Mexico: 

Increased Public Safety

With both the front and rear of the vehicle displaying identification, it becomes easier to track down stolen cars or respond quickly in hit-and-run car accidents causing personal injury. Having two license plates not only helps law enforcement but also bystanders who may witness these events. 

Improved Toll Collection & Traffic Control Systems

Modern toll booths and automated traffic control systems rely on capturing images of license plates from both directions. The absence of a front plate can hinder these processes, leading to potential errors or missed tolls. This can affect revenue collection for roadway maintenance. 

Automated Speed Enforcement 

Some places in New Mexico have automated speed enforcement, meaning you can end up getting a ticket for speeding even if you aren’t physically pulled over by a police officer. This is done by tracking the speed of cars and taking photos of their license plates. Advocates argue that this would likely be made easier by having front and rear license plates on all vehicles. 

While there are arguments in favor of front license plates that may make sense, the legislation in New Mexico remains unchanged as of 2024. Lawmakers consistently reject these bills aimed at instituting requirements for two license plates.

Other New Mexico License Plate Laws

Beyond the debate over front license plates, there are various other regulations surrounding license plates in New Mexico that motorists should be aware of. 

One regulation that’s important to know involves the legality of license plate frames. In New Mexico, license plate frames are completely legal and can be used to give your vehicle a personalized touch. 

However, these frames cannot obscure any part of the text or numbers on your plate. Ensuring full visibility is essential for compliance with state laws and helps law enforcement accurately identify vehicles when necessary. 

License Plate Covers Are Allowed If They Are Transparent

License plate covers are allowed in New Mexico, but the state enforces specific guidelines for their use to ensure compliance with visibility and legibility standards. First, any cover you use must not obstruct or impair the clear display of your license plate. This means covers that distort or obscure any part of the text or numbers on your plates are strictly prohibited. 

Additionally, these covers must be made from transparent materials such as plastic or glass to maintain clarity. These materials must remain untinted, as tinted covers can make it difficult for enforcement officers and electronic systems to read your license plate accurately. 

If you’re caught driving with an unreadable license plate due to an illegal frame or if a cover violates these regulations, you could face fines totaling $90 ($25 penalty plus $65 in court fees). 

Need Help After an Accident? Contact an Experienced Albuquerque Personal Injury Attorney at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you have questions or need help after being injured by someone who was violating these laws, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer.

If you were injured in an accident in Albuquerque, NM, and need legal help, contact our Albuquerque personal injury attorneys at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

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