Mexico’s National Mobility and Road Safety Law, passed by the country’s Senate in December 2021, marks a major step forward in the country’s efforts to reduce the stubbornly high number of road deaths and to promote equitable and sustainable access. transport services for all.
Despite considerable work at national and subnational levels, the country of nearly 130 million people has seen road fatalities remain consistently high in recent years, with more than 16,000 fatalities in 2016.
The diffuse structure of the Mexican federal government has made progress difficult. Speeding, alcohol limit and licensing laws have been created at the sub-national level, with the levels of government responsible for the planning, design and operation of transport systems operating largely on a voluntary basis. independent.
A crucial constitutional amendment came in 2020 which made “mobility in conditions of safety, accessibility, efficiency, sustainability, quality, inclusion and equality” a universal right.
The stage was then set for a new national law to harmonize all actions and enshrine an integrated safe systems approach that recognizes road safety as essential to saving lives and achieving Mexico’s broader sustainable development goals.
The new Mobility and Road Safety Act calls for the implementation of the proven and life-saving ‘safe systems’ approach which is in line with the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety.
The law clarifies roles and responsibilities within the Mexican government and calls for the creation of a unified database for licenses, license plates and fines. It incorporates the majority of WHO recommendations to promote the safe use of devices such as helmets, seat belts and child restraints and to reduce the exposure of road users to main risk factors such as speed, mobile phone use while driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Mexico’s historic mobility law should be seen as an integrated component of many other crucial policy areas, including children’s health, climate action, gender, poverty and equity. With the country’s mobility systems now firmly rooted in safety, this will bring a range of wider health and environmental benefits, reducing the social and economic cost of road safety tragedies. It is expected to significantly reduce the number of road deaths in Mexico.
Since 2008, WHO/PAHO has played a central role in Mexico’s progress on mobility and road safety, working with partners to build the systems, capacities and awareness needed to drive progress at all levels , including through funds from the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety.
Through funding, training and multiple awareness campaigns, WHO/PAHO helped strengthen the Mexican Coalition for Mobility which successfully campaigned for the new law. The coalition brought together 70 civil society organizations from 25 of Mexico’s 32 states.
WHO/PAHO also engaged in high-level advocacy and coordination to help shape and build momentum for the new law, working closely with influential Mexican senators and officials and ensuring coordination across the United Nations system at global, regional and country levels.
Over the years, WHO/PAHO has worked with local authorities to produce technical documents crucial to advancing road safety police enforcement, including:
– A guide to implementing surveillance and traffic control interventions
– A national police alcohol testing program.
– Protocols for the implementation of blood alcohol tests by the police
In support of these actions, WHO/PAHO also supported a number of social marketing campaigns, as well as targeted training programs for 67 prominent journalists. In collaboration with the government and civil society, WHO/PAHO provided technical and legal support for the development of Mexico’s mobility plan for a new normal in 2020.