Car seat checkup, insurance vs tag, late fee is back

It’s Car Seat Safety Week: And so the New Mexico Department of Transportation and Safe New Mexico Now will offer a free inspection on the condition of car seats and booster seats and how they are installed on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

To get your test done, make an appointment by calling 505-856-6143—no walk-ins will be accommodated, according to an NMDOT news release. If possible you will need to bring the car seat and its manual, your vehicle manual and the child using the seat. It will be mandatory to follow the mask and social distancing.

The sites are:

  • Albuquerque: Kohl’s, 6800 Holly NE.
  • Artesia: Fire Station No. 2, 702 W. Chisum St.
  • Las Cruces: Heart for the World Church, 1605 South Valley Drive.
  • Rio Rancho: Target, 4225 Crestview Drive SE.
  • Santa Fe: JCPenney, 4250 Cerillos Rd.

Why is it important to get it checked? Because many car seats are installed incorrectly, and then they do not secure the child as designed. When installed correctly “using car seats reduces the risk of death by an estimated 71% for rear babies and 54% for older, forward babies,” the release states. “In addition, the booster seat reduces the potential for significant injury for children ages 4 to 8 from seat belt use alone.”

You cannot register without insurance: A column a few weeks ago included a reader commenting on the abundance of expired license plate tags around town who wrote, “If they are not currently registered, they may not have insurance. And that’s a threat to me.”

And another reader questions that.

John emails “My experience and a half-dozen colleagues have confirmed that he is wrong, but we either missed or waited in vain for some correction. Our jurisdictions and contract law clearly favor coverage.” . . . Please consider printing the opinion of a truly credible and qualified person to confirm or disprove your reference.”

New Mexico law not only supports but requires coverage. Of course, that doesn’t mean everyone buys it – although in theory John is right and everyone with an expired plate could pay for vehicle insurance and register their vehicle with the Motor Vehicle Division. Never went here and there. In a pandemic with MVD still working on an appointment-only basis, stranger things can happen.

But according to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2019, New Mexico had the fourth-worst rate of uninsured drivers at 21.8%—more than one out of every five. And there are also all the letters that MVD has to send canceling registrations because people get insurance just for registering and then canceling policies.

So let’s go to that reliable and qualified person.

I asked Charlie Moore of the Department of Taxation and Revenue, which oversees the MVD, which comes first, insurance or registration? “It’s easier than chicken and eggs,” he says. “Insurance. This is one of the documents you need to register.”

And that means our reader should have said something along the lines of “if they are not currently registered, (I seriously question) they have insurance”.

MVD ends fee waivers: This is according to a news release that surfaced late Friday.

“The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division will eliminate penalties and late fee waivers related to vehicle registration and titling at the close of business on September 30. Waived late fees and penalties under an executive order issued at the start of COVID-19 There has been an epidemic in the spring of 2020. “

Those late fees include $10 if the vehicle is operated or transported after registration ends, $20 if the application for title is not made within 30 calendar days from the date of transfer, and $4 in motor vehicle excise. % increase from 6% for failure to apply for a certificate of title within 90 days of accepting the transfer of the vehicle in New Mexico.

“All MVD offices are open on appointment basis only and most have same day or next day availability. Appointments can be booked at or by calling 888-683-4636,” the release said.

Editorial Page Editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Monday. Reach him at 823-3858;; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

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