SANTA FE – New Mexico’s highest court has ruled that state law doesn’t require vehicle tail lights all be working perfectly, only that they work well enough for their intended use.
A ruling Monday by the state Supreme Court stems from a man’s conviction for violating a state law requiring that certain vehicle equipment be in “good working order.”
To conclude that “good working order” means free from flaws or defects “would impose an absurd standard for vehicles on New Mexico roads and highways because it would require that equipment be in perfect condition, beyond a more reasonable expectation that equipment functions for its intended use,” Justice S. Shannon Bacon wrote for the court.
The case began when a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy pulled the man over because one bulb in a tail lamp didn’t work despite the rest of the lamp being illuminated.
The man was convicted for both driving a vehicle with defective equipment and for driving under the influence, and his appeals argued that there weren’t grounds to pull him over because his tail lamp was operating well enough.
The Supreme Court’s ruling sends the case back to district court for further proceedings.