Background Mexico has by far the highest accident rate of OECD countries with significant differences from a state to another. This paper proposes a case study of Puebla, Mexico where accident rates are close to the national average, with a discussion of the main causes of accidents, namely the lack of control and an artisanal public transportation of the type hombre-camión (a man and his bus). However, recent policies such as the implementation of BRT lines and photo-fines on main roads should have an important impact on reduction of accidents.
Methods The method chosen combines quantitative analysis sometimes difficult to achieve from data from federal and state sources as well as qualitative data from interviews of the main actors regarding transport policy and road accidents in Puebla. The results are compared to other states of Mexico as well as more developed countries where road accidents are much lower.
Results Road accidents are very high in Mexico compared to other countries of the OECD (around 22 for 1,000 inhabitants vs. 6 in France, for example). The main causes of such disastrous results is a laissez-faire attitude, absence of a road test to obtain the driving licence, lack of control of speed limits, non-rigorous control of alcohol intake, artisanal competitive public transportation with many accidents, and corruption. However, recent changes in policies, at least in Puebla, with the implementation of a few BRT lines as well as cameras to control speed limits applied strictly with strong fines, has reduced considerably average speeds, the main cause of road accidents.
Conclusions Mexico, an emerging economy, has still a long way to go to reach low levels of accidents encountered in more developed countries. However, recent policies adopted in Puebla indicate that it is possible to rapidly implement measures to reduce accidents with political will.
- Road accidents
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