Last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court handed down a decision that probably encompasses a lot of attitudes in our state.
The ruling said in essence that if most of your car’s taillights were working, it was “good enough.”
The decision grew out of a case involving a traffic stop by an Albuquerque policeman who cited the driver of a car that had only one of two taillights working on one side of the vehicle. The rest of the car’s taillights were in working order, and according to state law, appeared to be able to pass the test of being visible from 500 feet away.
The court justice said that New Mexico law only stipulates that certain vehicle equipment be “in good working order.” He said if the vehicle had to be held at standards that were completely free of flaws or defects “it 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 reasonable expectation that equipment functions for its intended use.”
In this particular case, the officer who stopped the vehicle for the suspected taillight violation also found the driver for being under the influence and arrested him. But because the stop was determined to have been illegal, DWI charges against the driver were dismissed.
I think most of us who view the often dilapidated rolling stock on our highways and roads in New Mexico would agree that few, if any, vehicles are in “perfect condition.”
So for those of us who have one or two burned out bulbs in our taillights, or a taillight patched up with duct tape or red cellophane, you can keep driving — knowing that you fully comply with the attitude of only needing to be “good enough” in the Land of Enchantment.