Chapter 1:
Vehicles Definitions


Revised June 8, 2009


All-terrain vehicle (ATV)
a motor vehicle 50 inches or less in width, having an unladen dry weight of 1,000 pounds or less, traveling on three or more low-pressure tires and having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebar-type steering control

Auto recycler
a person engaged in this state in an established business that includes acquiring vehicles that are required to be registered under the Motor Vehicle Code for the purpose of dismantling, wrecking, shredding, compacting, crushing or otherwise destroying vehicles for reclaimable parts or scrap material to sell.

Boat
a motorboat that is ten feet in length or longer

Bus
a motor vehicle designed and used for the transportation of persons and every motor vehicle, other than a taxicab, designed and used for the transportation of persons for compensation

Camping body
a vehicle body primarily designed or converted for use as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping or travel activities

Camping trailer
a camping body, mounted on a chassis, or frame with wheels, designed to be drawn by another vehicle and that has collapsible partial side walls that fold for towing and unfold at the campsite

Commercial motor vehicle
a self-propelled or towed vehicle, other than special mobile equipment, used on public highways in commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle:

  1. is operated interstate and has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kilograms, or 10,001 pounds or more; or is operated only in intrastate commerce and has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 26,001 or more pounds;
  2. is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers, including the driver, and is used to transport passengers for compensation;
  3. is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
  4. is used to transport hazardous materials of the type or quantity requiring placarding under rules prescribed by applicable federal or state law

[Note: This is the basic Motor Vehicle Code definition at Sec 66-1-4.3J. There are different definitions of commercial motor vehicle specific to CDL at 66-5-54C and 18.19.5.7 NMAC, and for DWI at 66-8-102T(2).]

Commercial motor vehicle (CDL)
a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle:

  1. has a gross combination weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds inclusive of a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds;
  2. has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds;
  3. is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
  4. is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials, which requires the motor vehicle to be placarded under applicable law.

Dealer
any person who sells or solicits or advertises the sale of new or used motor vehicles, manufactured homes or trailers subject to registration in this state; "dealer" does not include:

  1. receivers, trustees, administrators, executors, guardians or other persons appointed by or acting under judgment, decree or order of any court;
  2. public officers while performing their duties as such officers;
  3. persons making casual sales of their own vehicles;
  4. finance companies, banks and other lending institutions making sales of repossessed vehicles; or
  5. licensed brokers under the Manufactured Housing Act [60-14-1 NMSA 1978] who, for a fee, commission or other valuable consideration, engage in brokerage activities related to the sale, exchange or lease purchase of pre-owned manufactured homes on a site installed for a consumer;

Distributor
a person who distributes or sells new or used motor vehicles to dealers and who is not a manufacturer

Financial Responsibility
the ability to respond in damages for liability resulting from traffic accidents arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle in amounts not less than specified in the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act or having in effect a motor vehicle insurance policy; includes a motor vehicle insurance policy, a surety bond or evidence of a sufficient cash deposit with the state treasurer

Freight trailer
any trailer, semitrailer or pole trailer drawn by a truck tractor or road tractor, and any trailer, semitrailer or pole trailer drawn by a truck that has a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds, but "freight trailer" does not include manufactured homes, trailers of less than one-ton carrying capacity used to transport animals or fertilizer trailers of less than 3,500 pounds empty weight

GCWR
gross combination weight rating; the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination vehicle; or, if no value is specified by the manufacturer, the sum of the gross vehicle weight rating of the power unit and the total weight of the towed unit or units and any load thereon

Gross combination weight rating (GCWR)
the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination vehicle; or, if no value is specified by the manufacturer, the sum of the gross vehicle weight rating of the power unit and the total weight of the towed unit or units and any load thereon

Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle

GVWR
gross vehicle weight rating; the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle

Highway
every way or place generally open to the use of the public as a matter of right for the purpose of vehicular travel, even though it may be temporarily closed or restricted for the purpose of construction, maintenance, repair or reconstruction

House trailer
a manufactured home

IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement)
An agreement that provides for the consolidated reporting of motor fuels (i.e., Gasoline, Diesel Fuel, Liquefied Gas) taxes for qualifying commercial motor vehicles traveling in more than one state of the U.S. or province of Canada.

IRP (International Registration Plan)
A registration reciprocity agreement among states of the United States and provinces of Canada providing for payment of license fees on the basis of total distance operated in all jurisdictions.

Ignition interlock device
a device, approved by the traffic safety bureau, that prevents the operation of a motor vehicle by an intoxicated or impaired person

Interstate
between two or more states (driving from one state to another)

Intrastate
within the state of New Mexico

Lien
a charge imposed upon specific property, by which it is made security for the performance of an act

Manufactured home
a movable or portable housing structure that exceeds either a width of eight feet or a length of forty feet, constructed to be towed on its own chassis and designed to be installed with or without a permanent foundation for human occupancy

Manufacturer's certificate of origin (MCO)
a certification, on a form supplied by or approved by the department, signed by the manufacturer that the new vehicle or boat described in the certificate has been transferred to the New Mexico dealer or distributor named in the certificate or to a dealer duly licensed or recognized as such in another state, territory or possession of the United States and that such transfer is the first transfer of the vehicle or boat in ordinary trade and commerce

Moped
a two-wheeled or three-wheeled vehicle with an automatic transmission and a motor having a piston displacement of less than 50 cubic centimeters, that is capable of propelling the vehicle at a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles an hour on level ground, at sea level

Motorboat
any vessel propelled by machinery, whether or not machinery is the principal source of propulsion, but does not include a vessel that has a valid marine document issued by the bureau of customs of the United States government or any federal agency successor thereto; "motorboat" includes any vessel propelled or designed to be propelled by sail and that does not have a valid document issued by a federal agency, but does not include a sailboard or windsurf board

Motorcycle
every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, excluding a tractor

Motor home
a camping body built on a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis so designed that seating for driver and passengers is within the body itself

Motor vehicle
every vehicle that is self-propelled and every vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from batteries or from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails

MSO (Manufacturer's Statement of Origin)
Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO)

Neighborhood electric car
a four-wheeled electric motor vehicle that has a maximum speed of more than twenty miles per hour but less than twenty-five miles per hour and complies with the federal requirements specified in 49 CFR 571.500

NMAC
New Mexico Administrative Code; the official compilation of current rules (regulations) filed by state agencies; rules are a special category of law written by state agencies to support, clarify, or implement specific laws (statutes) enacted by the legislature

NMSA or NMSA 1978
New Mexico Statutes Annotated, 1978 compilation (the last time the state's statutes were reorganized); often included in statutory citations [for example: "articles 1-8 of Chapter 66 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the Motor Vehicle Code"; and "Sec. 66-5-2 NMSA 1978 requires that an individual be licensed in order to drive a motor vehicle in New Mexico"]; this manual generally omits the "NMSA" or "NMSA 1978", instead referring to statutes by section number alone (e.g. 66-5-2).

Nonrepairable vehicle
a vehicle of a type otherwise subject to registration that: (1) has no resale value except as a source of parts or scrap metal or that the owner irreversibly designates as a source of parts or scrap metal or for destruction; (2) has been substantially stripped as a result of theft or is missing all of the bolts on sheet metal body panels, all of the doors and hatches, substantially all of the interior components and substantially all of the grill and light assemblies and has little or no resale value other than its worth as a source of a vehicle identification number that could be used illegally; or (3) is a substantially burned vehicle that has burned to the extent that there are no more usable or repairable body or interior components, tires and wheels or drive train components or that the owner irreversibly designates for destruction or as having little or no resale value other than its worth as a source of scrap metal or as a source of a vehicle identification number that could be used illegally. The declaration by an insurance company that a vehicle is a nonrepairable vehicle makes the vehicle a nonrepairable vehicle regardless of the relative amounts of repair costs versus fair market value.

Off-highway motorcycle
a motor vehicle traveling on not more than two tires and having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and that has handlebar-type steering control

Off-highway motor vehicle (OHV)
any motor vehicle operated or used exclusively off the highways of this state and that is not legally equipped for operation on the highways of this state

Personal representative
(of a decedent's estate) includes executor, administrator, successor personal representative, special administrator and persons who perform substantially the same function under the law governing their status.

Personal watercraft
a class A motorboat less than 16 feet, designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling on the vessel rather than the operator sitting or standing inside the vessel. Examples include jet skis, sea doos, wave runners and similar devices

Pole trailer
a vehicle without motive power, designed to be drawn by another vehicle and attached to the towing vehicle by means of a reach or pole or by being boomed or otherwise secured to the towing vehicle and ordinarily used for transporting long or irregularly shaped loads such as poles, structures, pipes and structural members capable, generally, of sustaining themselves as beams between the supporting connections

Recreational travel trailer
a camping body designed to be drawn by another vehicle

Recreational vehicle
a vehicle with a camping body that has its own motive power, is affixed to or is drawn by another vehicle and includes motor homes, travel trailers and truck campers

Salvage vehicle
a vehicle: (1) other than a nonrepairable vehicle, of a type subject to registration that has been wrecked, destroyed or damaged excluding, pursuant to rules issued by the department, hail damage, to the extent that the owner, leasing company, financial institution or the insurance company that insured or is responsible for repair of the vehicle considers it uneconomical to repair the vehicle and that is subsequently not repaired by or for the person who owned the vehicle at the time of the event resulting in damage; or (2) that was determined to be uneconomical to repair and for which a total loss payment is made by an insurer, whether or not the vehicle is subsequently repaired, if, prior to or upon making payment to the claimant, the insurer obtained the agreement of the claimant to the amount of the total loss settlement and informed the claimant that, pursuant to rules of the department, the title must be branded and submitted to the department for issuance of a salvage certificate of title for the vehicle. The declaration by an insurance company that a vehicle is a salvage vehicle makes the vehicle a salvage vehicle regardless of the relative amounts of repair costs versus fair market value.

School bus
a commercial motor vehicle used to transport preprimary, primary or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home or to and from school-sponsored events, but not including a vehicle operated by a common carrier or a government-owned transit authority that is not used exclusively for the transportation of pupils

Semitrailer
a vehicle without motive power, other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that some significant part of its weight and that of its load rests upon or is carried by another vehicle

Snowmobile
a motor vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice and steered and supported in whole or in part by skis, belts, cleats, runners or low-pressure tires

Title service company
a person, other than the department, an agent of the department, a licensed dealer or the motor transportation division of the department of public safety, who for consideration issues temporary registration plates or prepares and submits to the department on behalf of others applications for registration of or title to motor vehicles

Traffic safety bureau
the Traffic Safety Bureau of the New Mexico Department of Transportation

Trailer
any vehicle without motive power, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle, and so constructed that no significant part of its weight rests upon the towing vehicle

Travel trailer
a trailer with a camping body and includes recreational travel trailers and camping trailers

Truck
a motor vehicle designed, used or maintained primarily for the transportation of property

Truck camper
a camping body designed to be loaded onto, or affixed to, the bed or chassis of a truck. A camping body, when combined with a truck or truck cab and chassis, even though not attached permanently, becomes a part of the motor vehicle, and together they are a recreational unit to be known as a "truck camper"; there are three general types of truck campers:

  1. "slide-in camper" means a camping body designed to be loaded onto and unloaded from the bed of a pickup truck;
  2. "chassis-mount camper" means a camping body designed to be affixed to a truck cab and chassis; and
  3. "pickup cover" or "camper shell" means a camping body designed to provide an all-weather protective enclosure over the bed of a pickup truck and to be affixed to the pickup truck

Utility trailer
any trailer, semitrailer or pole trailer, but does not include freight trailers, manufactured homes, trailers of less than one-ton carrying capacity used to transport animals or fertilizer trailers of less than 3,500 pounds empty weight

Vehicle
every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, including any frame, chassis, body or unitized frame and body of any vehicle or motor vehicle, except devices moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks

Vessel
every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water

Weight Distance Tax (WDT)
The tax imposed by the Weight Distance Tax Act (Section 7 Article 15A NMSA 1978). The WDT is imposed upon the registrants, owners and operators for the use of the highways of this state by all motor vehicles having a declared gross weight or gross vehicle weight in excess of 26,000 and registered in this state, registered under proportional registration or qualified under the provisions of Sections 65-1-32 and 65-1-33 NMSA 1978.

Wholesaler
any person, except a person making a casual sale of the person's own vehicle, who sells or offers for sale vehicles of a type subject to registration in this state, to a vehicle dealer who is licensed under the Motor Vehicle Code or who is franchised by a manufacturer, distributor or vehicle dealer; provided, however, that if any person except a person making a casual sale of the person's own vehicle also sells a vehicle at retail, that person shall be deemed to be a dealer and is subject to the dealer-licensing provisions of the Motor Vehicle Code