new mexico driver information
Whether you're looking for need-to-know info or interesting trivia you can share at a barbecue, you're in the right place. Find out how New Mexico tracks its drivers, how to get your first license, and which cars are stolen the most frequently.
New Mexico driver information
Number of licensed drivers: 1,378,000
Registered vehicles: 1,621,000
Licensing and registration authority: New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD)
New Mexico driving record points
New Mexico tracks its drivers through official driving records. Convictions for certain violations add points to a driver's record.
Drivers who rack up 12 points within a 12-month period face a one-year license suspension
DWIs in New Mexico
A driver with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher will be charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated). Drivers who are under 21 can be arrested for a BAC of 0.02 percent.
A DWI conviction leads to a fine, court costs, a suspended drivers license, and possible jail time. Drivers may also be required to take a mandatory alcohol education course and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles.
DWIs stay on a driver's record for 25 years.
For novice drivers, using a handheld or hands-free cell phone behind the wheel is illegal.
New Mexico also bans drivers of official state vehicles from using handheld cell phones behind the wheel.
Moving to New Mexico
Once you establish residency in New Mexico, you'll need to replace your out-of-state drivers license with a New Mexico license. You can do this at any New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division field office.
If it's your first drivers license or your old one expired more than 5 years ago, you may need to pass road, vision, and knowledge tests. If your out-of-state license is still current, you can skip the written test and the driving test.
Getting your car registered in New Mexico
Once you become a resident of New Mexico, register your car at an MVD office.
Before you can register your car, you'll need proof that you have the state-required car insurance coverages. First-time registration involves a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection.
Drivers in the military
If you are an active member of the U.S. military when your license expires, it will stay active for the length of your deployment plus an additional 31 days after your return to New Mexico. This also applies to spouses.
Stolen cars in New Mexico
According to 2011 data reported by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, 3,861 cars were stolen in the Albuquerque area.
Most frequently stolen vehicles in New Mexico
- 2006 Ford Pickup (full size)
- 1996 Honda Accord
- 2005 Chevrolet Pickup (full size)
- 1998 Honda Civic
- 2001 Dodge Pickup (full size)
- 1991 Toyota Camry
- 1995 Saturn SI
- 1998 Ford Pickup (small size)
- 1999 GMC Pickup (full size)
- 1999 Chevrolet Pickup (small size)
Comprehensive coverage, which is legally optional but may be required by a lease or finance company, offers financial protection in case your car's stolen.
Young drivers in New Mexico
Teens looking to hit the roads go through the graduated licensing program. Here's a quick overview of the 3 key stages:
- Minimum age for an instructional permit: 15 years old
- To get a permit, enroll in a state-approved drivers ed course and pass the vision and knowledge tests
- Minimum age for a provisional drivers license: 15 1/2 years old
- To apply for a provisional license, drivers must have held their instructional permit for at least 6 months
- Drivers must complete at least 50 accompanied practice hours (including 10 at night) and pass a written test, a vision test, and a road test
- With certain exceptions, provisional drivers may not drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.
- Provisional drivers may only have one non-family member under the age of 18 in their car at any time
- Minimum age for a full drivers license: 16 1/2 years old
- Driver needs to have held a provisional license for the past 12 months
Visit the New Mexico Driver Manual (PDF) for more info on each licensing stage.
Car insurance in New Mexico
Read our easy-to-understand breakdown of New Mexico car insurance.
New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division
The official website for New Mexico's MVD.