Background The Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 aims to reduce in half the burden of road traffic injuries and deaths in 2020. To protect road users, the adoption of a model road safety legislation and an increase in the enforcement of road safety laws are recommended activities.
Objective To identify the gaps between addressing risk factors: excessive speed, helmet use and distracted driving in Mexican legislation and the World Health Organization’s road safety recommendations.
Methods A review of the applicable traffic laws at the national level was conducted. Variables like speed limit by road type, helmet characteristics, use of cellphone and electronic devices while driving were included and also the penalties for road traffic violations.
Findings Over 150 documents were identified, from those 74 were considered in this analysis: 65% applicable at the state level, 32% at the municipal level and 3% at the national level. Speed limits were not adequate with the function of the road in 30% of the legislation; only in 10 states and 10 municipalities, an automated enforcement system is legal; 73% prohibit cellphone use while driving and 65% consider other electronic devices as distractors. Helmet use was mandatory in 80% of the legislation, but only in 5 municipalities and 6 states helmet’s quality standards were required. Financial penalties were established for violating the law in most of the states and municipalities; just in the country’s capital a penalty points system was used.
Conclusion Mexico has advanced in road traffic legislation, however, improvement in the existing laws are still needed and strengthening law enforcement.
Policy implications This information contributes with evidence to promote comprehensive traffic laws at the national level, aimed to protect vulnerable road users, and to improve data systems.
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