“nationwide breathalyzer, standardized speed limits, mandatory use of seat belts, protective helmets”
In an effort to reduce road accidents and increase the safety and quality of the country’s mobility, Mexico passed its first Law on Mobility and Road Safety. The law marks the first political effort to improve these issues through a nationwide joint mobility strategy.
On March 29, Congress approved the ruling for the General Law of Mobility and Road Safety. with 457 votes in favor, 1 abstention and no votes against. The opinion was then sent to the Senate for final approval, where days later, on April 5, the Senate approved the Mobility Law with 102 votes in favor. It then sent the law to the President, ensuring it entered into force. The new legal framework was the fruit of three years of work, as well as open parliament discussions in with victims of road accidents and civil organizations that work to improve mobility.
The new Mobility Law consists of 82 articles, with which it delimits topics toward increased safety and fairer mobility. Motorcyclists are now obliged to wear protective helmets and child restraint seats will be mandatory when children travel in a vehicle. Also, the mandatory use of seat belts has been established for all passengers.
Furthermore, the use of cell phones while driving has been prohibited. A nationwide breathalyzer program will be established to prevent drunk driving, too. Other changes include that speed limits will be standardized throughout Mexico and that a theoretical and practical test regarding traffic regulations will be required to obtain a driver’s license. If drivers are caught on the road under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may lose their license for at least one year. In the case of public transportation or cargo drivers, the penalty will be at least six months.
Moreover, the new law also creates a National Mobility and Road Safety System, a Territorial and Urban Information System and databases to keep information via the participation of all levels of government.
However, some analysts argue that the new law left out some relevant points that could have strengthened it, such as international vehicle safety standards for the Mexican market, the prohibition of double-trailer vehicles, and mandatory car insurance.
After the law’s approval, Deputy Salomón Chertorivski, President of the Mobility Commission in Congress, commented that “we must celebrate that today we gained a great piece of legislation that puts us at the global level in mobility matters. This new law is likely the best piece of legislation in Latin America on the topic.”
In Mexico, approximately 44 people die due to traffic accidents daily, while 81 get injured. Estimates show that traffic accidents cost Mexico around 1.7 percent of its GDP, around MX$150 billion (US$7.48 billion) in lost productivity, property damage and medical care.