Mexico’s New Mobility and Road Safety Law Is Key to Saving Lives
After more than eight years of rigorous advocacy work in support of stronger road safety policies, the General Mobility and Road Safety bill #LeyMovilidadSegura became national law in Mexico in May 2022. The law’s passage marks a major step forward in the country’s efforts to reduce the high numbers of road traffic deaths, which total more than 16,000 per year, and create safer roads for everyone.
Since January 2020, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), along with Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), has been working with the coalition in Mexico composed of civil society organizations, technical experts and families of car crash victims, to increase public awareness and calls for government action.
Senators Xochitl Galvez, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, Verónica Delgadillo, Patricia Mercado celebrated the passing of the Mobility Law alongside with representatives from the many groups who led these efforts.
The General Mobility and Road Safety Law establishes policies in safe infrastructure, speed management, seatbelt use, helmet use, drink driving and child restraint systems consistent with global best practices established by the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, the Law elevates vehicle safety as one of the key elements to address road safety and states that vehicle safety standards should be progressive — and consider their potential to save lives. Taken together, the law creates a legal framework that will ultimately benefit vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, which are the main fatalities group of road crashes.
The new law creates the structure to advance road safety and requirements at the national, state, and municipal levels, and state and local authorities are critical in ensuring safer roads. Additionally, the law recognizes for the first time the rights of the victim crashes, setting the future path in their access to justice. The Law builds on a number of key policy advocacy milestones that GHAI, GRSP and the coalition helped to achieve:
- By 2012, the right to mobility, including safe streets and the right to move safely, was recognized in nine states.
- In 2014, civil society organizations collaborated and worked in favor of road safety legislation at the national level.
- In 2018, Senator Patricia Mercado established working tables under the Metropolitan Zone and Mobility Commission.
- In 2019, the national congress approved a constitutional amendment to establish safe mobility as a fundamental right and critical to equity and accessibility for all. By the end of 2020, 23 of the 32 Mexican states had ratified the amendment.
- In 2021, Mexico’s Senate passed the mobility and road safety bill.
- In 2022, Mexico’s Mobility and Road Safety Law is fully ratified and incorporates the majority of the WHO’s recommendations to promote the safe use of helmets, seatbelts and child restraints and to reduce speeding and drink driving.
In the last ten years, extensive advocacy at the national and subnational levels has been carried out by civil society organizations, experts, activists and families who have lost a loved one in car crashes. The collaboration gave way to a record of advocacy actions: World Day of Remembrance, wherein government buildings were illuminated in yellow for the last two years; and the day the Senate was to vote in April on #LeyMovilidadSegura, Mariachis were brought in to celebrate; and on Facebook the coalition published a series of coffee break sessions on Fridays with key speakers and provided an opportunity for question and answers.
Now that the General Mobility and Road Safety bill has passed into law, advocates are looking ahead to working with the government to implement the new regulations at the state level. Advocates are outlining their vision for how best to help local and state authorities implement and enforce the law – and ultimately save lives.
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