On Wednesday, National Congressman Jonadab Martínez (MC-Jalisco) introduced a groundbreaking National Road Safety Act to the Chamber of Deputies, Mexico’s lower house. The law was drafted with the support of numerous NGOs, insurance companies and public officials of different levels and branches of government.
Even though some important milestones have been achieved at the local level, such as the Vision Zero policy or the Comprehensive Road Safety Program (PISVI), both already in place in Mexico City, a national policy framework has yet to be put in place. This is an enormous opportunity for Mexican legislators to show their leadership and address the underlying causes of more than 17,000 traffic related fatalities each year, and many more injuries. It is unacceptable that the first cause of death among children 5 to 9 years old are traffic collisions.
Among other things, the new law proposes:
- Setting up a National Road Safety System in charge of planning, managing, monitoring and evaluating road safety
- Assigning responsibilities regarding road safety to the different levels of government;
- Creating an independent National Road Safety Agency in charge of managing the System
- Setting up a Road Safety Fund
- Establishing the benchmarks for the state-level road safety programs
- Defining the guiding principles for street design, including complete streets, universal accessibility, safe crossings, traffic calming measures, and speed reduction, as well as road safety audits
- Enhancing the safety standards for vehicles
- Defining the hierarchy of street users according to their vulnerability level
- Addressing the pre-hospitalization protocols that first responders must follow
The Act has been sent to the legislative committees where it will be reviewed. It was co-signed by over 100 congressmen and congresswomen from all the major political parties. Now it is time to continue giving technical input to those in charge of reviewing before the final vote in order to have the best version of the Act approved as quickly as possible.
The passing of the Act will drive major changes and improvements to Mexico’s road infrastructure that will shift the focus away from the car and towards the pedestrian. This will create safer, more inviting spaces for pedestrians and in turn, more inclusive cities across the country. This national law follows Mexico City’s new leadership in parking reform, and is a major win in working towards a better future for Mexican cities.