To drive a vehicle in New Mexico, you have to have a valid driver’s license. Teens younger than 18 trying to drive for the first time have to successfully complete a Graduated Driver License (GDL) program. Those driving for the first time who are between ages 18 and 24 have additional education requirements before receiving their licenses. Education programs also exist for drivers who have had violations or who hope to save on insurance premiums.
Testing and Preparing to DriveAll those learning to drive begin with an instructional permit; however, the procedures to obtain that differ based on age. Drivers older than 25 can obtain a learner’s permit by passing a vision exam and knowledge test. When they are ready, drivers take the road test and, if they pass, they receive their license. Those between 18 and 24 must take a “None for the Road” training course offered through the University of New Mexico before they can receive their instructional permit. This is in addition to the vision exam and knowledge test. They take the road test when ready, and if they pass, receive their license. To obtain an instructional permit, those between age 15 and 17 must have proof of having completed or being enrolled in a state-approved driver’s education program and bring a referral from that program with them, and have approval from their parents, in addition to passing the knowledge and vision test. During the time they hold their instructional permit, they must practice and log at least 50 hours of driving time and complete their driver’s education course before they can take their road test to move on to the next phase.
Graduated Driver LicenseNew Mexico uses a Graduated Driver License Program for drivers under age 18. To get a license, drivers first receive a permit and probationary license, which allows them to drive with some restrictions. After practice and successfully meeting all the program requirements, they receive the basic license.
Remedial Driver ProgramsNew Mexico does not allow drivers to take a course and reduce the number of points against their license, but the courts may require these courses to reinstate a suspended license. Those who have been convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs must complete the None for the Road program or another bureau-approved DWI Prevention and Education Program before they can regain their driving privileges. Those whose license has been suspended for points must take an approved eight-hour driver safety course to regain their driving privileges.
Defensive Driving Courses
Defensive driving courses are voluntary, and some insurers will give a discount to drivers who complete them. Drivers who are interested in taking a course to reduce their insurance premiums should check first with the insurance company to see which courses are acceptable and whether the course will result in a discount before taking the course.