Chapter 27. Mexico

This chapter presents 2014 road safety data for Mexico along with trends in traffic and road safety from the years 1990 to 2014 and road user behaviour patterns. This includes data on speed, drink driving, drugs and driving, distracted driving, fatigue and seat belt usage. The chapter reviews Mexico’s road safety strategy, recently implemented safety measures and current research.1

  

Mexico, as the newest member of the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD), has, since 2010, recorded a decrease of 13% in the number of road crashes, following many years with little movement. During the same five-year period a reduction in fatalities of 4% was noted. In parallel, between 2010 and 2014 the number of registered vehicles increased by 20%, and the number of registered motorcycles nearly doubled reaching nearly 2.3 million units. In 2014, 15 886 fatalities were reported, almost identical to that of 2013. This translates into a fatality rate of 13.3 per 100 000 inhabitants.

Road safety data collection

Definitions applied in Mexico

  • Road fatality: Any person who dies following a road crash. When a person does not die at the scene of the crash, but later at hospital or during the transfer to hospital, it is reported as an “injured” person. In this report, road fatalities are those registered in the mortality database of the National Health Information System (SINAIS), and recorded as caused by a motor vehicle traffic crash according to the codes of the International Classification of Diseases (10th Review).

  • Injured person: A person suffering minor or severe injuries following a road crash.

All traffic safety related definitions are available through the national statistics agency (INEGI, 2009).

Data collection

The main sources of information for road crashes are the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) for urban and suburban areas and the Federal Police (PF) for federal areas. Crash statistics include data on the date and time of the crash, location, type of crash, vehicle type, crash contributing factors, road user category and condition of the casualties (injured or killed). INEGI is also in charge of compiling statistics at a national level.

Crash data for urban and suburban areas are collected on a form developed by INEGI; through the state and municipal safety and traffic agencies. Crash statistics are compiled following the recommendations of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Crashes occurring on the federal road network are reported on a different form through the regional offices of the PF located in 140 areas around the country. These crash forms are then processed in the crash database for federal roads.

Currently, Mexico does not have an integrated road crash database that gathers data from INEGI and the PF. As both systems (INEGI and PF) have different variables and definitions, it is complex to have a precise count of the total number of crashes in the whole country. The most accurate source of data on road deaths and serious injuries is the health database of the Ministry of Health, which is based on health certificates and hospital discharges. Injury data are recorded based on the international classification of diseases (ICD), tenth edition.

Efforts are underway to improve the data collection and monitoring process of road crashes. As part of the Road Safety Programme 2013-18, state observatories are being established in 26 of the 32 federal entities. Sixteen of these report crash data on a common platform (RAVMex) through mobile and web applications, which also enable reporting on contributing factors to crashes. The registration of injury data is also being improved through multisector collaboration.

Most recent safety data

Road crashes in 2014

In 2014, the Ministry of Health reported 378 240 road crashes (STCONAPRA, 2014). According to INEGI, 15 886 persons were killed in these crashes, a 0.2% increase when compared to 2013.

Trends in traffic and road safety (1990-2014)

Traffic

The motor vehicle fleet is increasing rapidly in Mexico. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of registered vehicles increased by 20%. The number of registered motorcycles nearly doubled from 1.15 to 2.27 million units (INEGI, 2016).

The federal highway network consists of approximately 52 000 kilometres, which represent 34% of the national road network. Between 1997 and 2014, the length of the federal highway network increased by 9% but the traffic in vehicle kilometres increased by 68%. The length of the national network of paved roads increased by 63%.

Road safety

Crashes and casualties

In the last 25 years, 15 000 deaths were recorded on average every year. The number of registered fatalities peaked in 2009 at 17 816. In the last five years, a downward trend was observed. Since 2010, the number of crashes decreased by 13% and the number of fatalities by 4%.

Almost seven out of ten deaths in Mexico are vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists). The situation regarding motorcyclists is particularly worrying. Since 2010, the number of motorcyclists killed increased by 90%.

Rates

The stabilisation in the number of road fatalities and the growth of the population led to a decrease in the fatality rate per 100 000 inhabitants, from 17.2 in 1990 to 13.3 in 2014.

Table 27.1. Road safety and traffic data

1990

2000

2010

2013

2014

2014 % change from

2013

2010

2000

1990

Reported safety data

Fatalities

13 974

14 027

16 559

15 856

15 886

0.2

-4.1

13.2

13.7

Injury crashes

101 896

114 405

100 557

94 963

-5.6

-17.0

-6.8

-

Injured persons hospitalised

-

-

32 743

31 320

26 389

-15.7

-19.4

-

-

Deaths per 100 000 inhabitants

17.2

14.4

14.7

13.4

13.3

-0.9

-10.0

-7.8

-22.9

Deaths per 10 000 registered vehicles

14.2

9.0

5.2

4.3

4.2

-3.2

-20.2

-53.5

-70.5

Traffic data

Registered vehicles (thousands)

9 862

15 612

31 636

36 743

38 024

3.5

20.2

143.6

285.6

Registered vehicles per 1 000 inhabitants

121

101

282

310

318

2.3

12.8

214.0

161.7

 https://doi.org/10.1787/888933385589

Figure 27.1. Road safety, traffic and GDP trends index 1990 = 100
picture

Source: World Bank for Gross Domestic Product (GDP; constant prices).

Road safety by user group

Since 1990, the number of people killed among car occupants and pedestrians decreased, but increased for cyclists and in particular motorcyclists. In 2014, the situation continued to deteriorate for motorcyclists and cyclists with a respective increase of 18% and 16% in the number or fatalities.

Table 27.2. Road fatalities by road user group

1990

2000

2010

2013

2014

2014 % change from

2013

2010

2000

1990

Cyclists

    67

   107

   178

   164

   190

15.9

6.0

77.6

183.6

Motorcyclists

-

   166

   704

 1 154

 1 360

17.9

93.2

719.2

-

Passenger car occupants

-

 3 117

 3 719

 3 056

 2 755

-9.8

-25.9

-11.6

-

Pedestrians

 5 206

 5 509

 4 786

 4 816

 4 821

0.1

0.7

-12.5

-7.4

Others

 8 576(1)

 5 136

 7 172

 6 666

 6 760

1.5

-5.7

31.5

-

Total

13 974

14 027

16 559

15 856

15 886

0.2

-4.1

13.2

13.7

Note: Passenger car occupants included. Until 1990 there was no distinction between different categories of motor vehicles.

Figure 27.2. Road fatalities by road user group in percentage of total 2014
picture

Road safety by age group

Since 1990, the number of fatalities has decreased for young people up to 17 but increased for all other age groups. In the last two years, improvements were observed again for young people. The largest increase concerned the age group 21-24.

People over 65 years old are the most vulnerable in traffic with a fatality rate of 23.9 fatalities per 100 000, i.e. nearly twice that of the average population. They are particularly vulnerable as pedestrians (Secretaría de Salud, 2016).

Table 27.3. Road fatalities by age group

Age

1990

2000

2010

2013

2014

2014 % change from

2013

2010

2000

1990

0-5

   827

   632

   627

   503

   439

-12.7

-30.0

-30.5

-46.9

6-9

   521

   348

   272

   235

   214

-8.9

-21.3

-38.5

-58.9

10-14

   634

   563

   442

   362

   372

2.8

-15.8

-33.9

-41.3

15-17

   726

   656

   815

   651

   614

-5.7

-24.7

-6.4

-15.4

18-20

 1 073

   961

 1 269

 1 176

 1 167

-0.8

-8.0

21.4

8.8

21-24

 1 343

 1 369

 1 592

 1 541

 1 594

3.4

0.1

16.4

18.7

25-64

 7 183

 7 699

 9 366

 9 246

 9 319

0.8

-0.5

21.0

29.7

≥ 65

 1 498

 1 640

 1 961

 1 914

 1 910

-0.2

-2.6

16.5

27.5

Total including unknown

13 974

14 027

16 559

15 856

15 886

0.2

-4.1

13.2

13.7

Figure 27.3. Road fatality rates by age group Deaths per 100 000 inhabitants in a given age group, 1990-2014
picture
Figure 27.4. Road fatality rate by age and road user group Fatalities per 100 000 inhabitants, 2014
picture

Economic costs of traffic crashes

Traffic crashes represent huge costs to society. In 2013, they were estimated at USD 23.7 billion, i.e. 1.9% of GDP. These costs are estimated based on a human capital approach, as there are not yet any studies available on the statistical valuation of life using a willingness-to-pay approach (IMT, 2015; INEGI, 2016).

Table 27.4. Costs of road crashes, 2014

Unit cost USD

Total

Fatalities

400 000

 6.3 billion

Injuries

17.4 billion

Total

23.7 billion

Total as % of GDP

1.9%

Recent trends in road user behaviour

Speed

In 2014, 60% of road fatalities occurring on the federal highway network were reported by the federal police as due to excessive speed.

Speed measurement on the federal highway network conducted in 2012 revealed an average speed of 63.9 km/h on urban roads and 83.4 km/h on motorways. The 85th percentile speeds (speed at which 85% of vehicles are not exceeding) were respectively 79.5 and 100.5 km/h.

The table below summarises the main speed limits in Mexico.

Table 27.5. Passenger car speed limits by road type, 2016

General speed limit

Urban roads

10-80 km/h

Other roads

 50 km/h

High speed roads

100 km/h

Motorways

110 km/h

Source: Gaceta Oficial del Distrito Federal (2015) and Diario Oficial de la Federación (2012)

Drink driving

On federal roads and highways the maximum authorised blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.8 g/l and 0.3 g/l for truck and coach drivers. On urban roads, the maximum BAC level differs by state.

A crash is defined as an alcohol-related crash when one of the participants (including cyclists and pedestrians) has a BAC above the legal limit.

There are several estimations of the contribution of drink driving to fatal crashes. According to the statistics office (INEGI, 2016), in 2014, on urban roads, 9% of fatalities were due to a drunk drivers. However it is important to note that the BAC level of those involved in the crash was only available for 53% of the road deaths. The table below indicates the share of road fatalities due to drink driving. According to data from the Ministry of Health, drink driving was the main contributing factor for 23% of the road deaths in 2009 (Secretaría de Salud, 2010).

Table 27.6. Share of fatalities due to drinking and driving

Year

Alcohol test %

Positive

Negative

No data

2000

10.2

37.2

52.6

2005

11.3

44.3

44.5

2010

 8.7

46.8

44.5

2011

 8.4

51.4

40.2

2012

10.3

35.3

54.4

2013

 9.6

38.5

51.9

2014

 8.9

37.8

53.3

Source: INEGI (2016).

Drugs and driving

A crash is defined as drug related when one of the participants (including pedestrians or cyclists) has consumed one or more psychoactive drugs.

The Mexican authorities conduct regular checking on the federal highway network to test the physical and physiological conditions of professional drivers.

There is no data available to estimate deaths due to drugs and driving.

Distraction

There is no official definition of distracted driving. In Mexico, only hand-free devices are allowed while driving. There is no data on the contribution of distracted driving to road crashes.

Sleepiness and fatigue

There is no data on the contribution of sleepiness and fatigue to fatal crashes.

Seat belts and helmets

Seat belt wearing has been compulsory in front seats since 2012. They are compulsory in rear seats since 2015.

Table 27.7. Seat belt wearing rate by car occupancy and road type

2000

Front seat (driver + passengers)

29%

Rear seats

 4%

Source: World Health Organization (WHO; 2011).

The use of safety helmets is mandatory for all drivers and passengers of motorcycles, on the whole network (federal highway network; urban and suburban roads). The table below illustrates the evolution of helmet use by drivers and passengers between 2010 and 2014.

Safety helmets are not mandatory for cyclists.

Table 27.8. Evolution in the use of safety helmets 2010-14

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Driver

64.4%

72.1%

62.3%

79.8%

81.9%

Passengers

58.9%

69.6%

78.6%

70.2%

57.3%

Source: STCONAPRA (2014).

National road safety strategies and targets

Road safety strategy for 2011-20

To support the Decade of Action for Road Safety, Mexico launched in 2011 its National Road Safety Strategy 2011-20 (DOF, 2011). The strategy was developed jointly by the Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT) and the Ministry of Health. Its main target is to reduce by 50% the number of fatalities and to reduce as much as possible injuries and disabilities due to road crashes. The strategy suggests the adoption of a general road safety law and the creation of a national road safety agency and a national road safety council.

The strategy is based on the Global Plan for the Decade of Action (United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, 2011) and is organised around the following pillars:

  • Road safety management: The main objectives are to strengthen the co-operation between federal, state and municipal agencies involved in traffic safety, to develop a nation-wide legal framework for road safety and to improve crash data.

  • Safer infrastructure: The main objectives are to upgrade the infrastructure to adopt a legislative framework to facilitate the improvement of the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the road network.

  • Safer vehicles: The focus is on the adoption of standards for minimum safety requirements for the vehicles operated on Mexican roads. The focus will also be on the mandatory use of child restraint systems.

  • Road user behaviour: Activities include awareness campaigns, enforcement and a review and homogenisation of the driving licence requirements.

  • Post-crash care: The main objective is to have top quality emergency and hospital services, specialised in road traffic injuries. Activities will focus on the development of protocols for the rehabilitation of road crash victims and prevention programmes.

Recent safety measures (2013-16)

Legislation

  • Preparation of a national road safety law, including the creation of a National Road Safety Agency and a National Crash Investigation Agency.

  • The National Advisory Committee on Standardization of Land Transport (CCNN-TT), co‐ordinated by the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, is reviewing and updating the Mexican Official Standards contributing to road safety, including:

    • road signing and signalisation

    • road guardrails

    • emergency braking lanes on highways

    • maximum weight and dimension of vehicles

  • In 2016, standards are being developed by the Ministry of Heath for motorcycle helmets, speed cameras and blood alcohol measurement.

Road safety data management

  • A task force on crash statistics and performance indicators is working towards the improvement of the national crash data system. In 2015, 26 regional road safety observatories were established. A new web-based application has been developed to link different road crash databases into a common platform (RAVMex).

Road users

  • Review and update of the minimum training programme for professional drivers to obtain a federal license.

  • Ongoing project on the effective regulation of driving time.

  • Since 2009, the health agency has promoted and strengthened strategic action against drink driving. In 2016, regular alcohol checkpoints will be implemented in 158 municipalities. This is four times as many as in 2010. During 2015, more than 20 000 alcohol checkpoints were set up, with 985 874 breath tests conducted (13% of them positive).

  • Training for trainers is one of the components of the National Training Programme in Road Safety.

  • The National Training Programme in Road Safety started in 2010. As of 2015, 1 196 trainers have been trained in road safety, and 14 690 promoters have given awareness talks to over 2 million citizens.

  • The Ministry of Health has trained 1 871 First Aid instructors in 28 states

Infrastructure

  • A project was conducted to assess the performance and condition of the federal highway network using the methodology of the international road assessment programme (iRAP). This has facilitated the development of an investment plan for safer roads. The iRAP Mexico project has helped address significant road safety problems and identify appropriate solutions (e.g. vertical signs and road markings).

  • Several important infrastructure improvement projects are being carried out such as the installation of protective barriers, improved intersections, pedestrian bridges, bus stops, road markings, and emergency braking ramps.

  • In Mexico the priority is shifting from car occupants to the most vulnerable road users. Mexico has more than 1 400 road safety auditors in 30 states including 162 members of the Federal Police. Each state is required to implement at least three changes in infrastructure giving priority to pedestrians under a philosophy of Vision Zero.

Recent and ongoing research

  • Risk factors: the study focused on the prevalence of risk factors in traffic crashes. The following safety performance indicators monitored helmet wearing, BAC level, use of seat belts, use of protective clothing, etc. In 2015, surveys were conducted in 43 municipalities in 28 states. The results show that helmet use is higher for motorcycle drivers (72.8% to 81.9%) than their passengers (41.3% to 57.3%). The use of protective clothing is globally low (i.e., between 1% and 20%).

References

DOF (2011), “Acuerdo por el que se da a conocer la Estrategia Nacional de Seguridad Vial 2011-20”, Diario Oficial de la Federación, Mexico.

DOF (2012), “Reglamento de Tránsito en Carreteras y Puentes de Jurisdicción Federal”, Publicado el 22 de noviembre de 2012, Diario Oficial de la Federación, Mexico.

Gaceta Oficial del Distrito Federal (2015), “Reglamento de Tránsito del Distrito Federal”, Publicado el 17 de agosto de 2015.

IDB (2013), “The Costs of Road Injuries in Latin America 2013”, IDB Road Safety Strategy INE/TSP, Technical Notes N-IDB-TN-597, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC, USA.

IMT (2015), “Anuario estadístico de Accidentes en Carreteras Federales, 2014”, Sanfandila, Querétaro, 2015.

IMT (2015), “Comparación Estadística entre la Clasificación por Estrellas y la Accidentalidad en Carreteras Federales”, Publicación Técnica No. 438, Instituto Mexicano del Transporte, Sanfandila, Querétaro, 2015.

INEGI (2009), Síntesis Metodológica de la Estadística de Accidentes de Tránsito Terrestre en Zonas Urbanas y Suburbanas, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, Aguascalientes, México.

INEGI (2016), Vehículos Registrados en Circulación, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografíah, Mexico, www.inegi.org.mx/est/lista_cubos/consulta.aspx?p=adm&c=8 (accessed 19 May 2016).

INEGI (2016), Volumen y crecimiento. Población total por entidad federativa, 1895 a 2010, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, Mexico, http://www3.inegi.org.mx/sistemas/sisept/Default.aspx? t=mdemo148&s=est&c=29192 (accessed 19 May 2016).

INEGI (2016), “Mortalidad”, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, Mexico, www.inegi.org.mx/est/lista_cubos/consulta.aspx?p=adm&c=4 (accessed 19 May 2016).

INEGI (2016), “Accidentes de tránsito terrestre en zonas urbanas y suburbanas”, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, Mexico, www.inegi.org.mx/est/contenidos/proyectos/registros/economicas/accidentes/descripciones.aspx (accessed 19 May 2016)

INEGI (2016), “Producto Interno Bruto Variación Anual”, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, Mexico, www.inegi.org.mx/est/contenidos/proyectos/cn/pibt/ (accessed 19 May 2016)

INEGI (2016), “Base de datos del Sistema Estatal y Municipal”, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, Mexico, http://sc.inegi.org.mx/cobdem/resultados.jsp?w=95&Backidhecho=101&Back constem=99&constembd=029&tm=%27Backidhecho:3,Backconstem:2,constembd:3%27 (accessed 19 May 2016).

Secretaría de Salud (2010), Dirección General de Epidemiología, Sistema de Vigilancia Epidemiológica de las Adicciones (SISVEA), Informe 2009, Mexico.

Secretaría de Salud/STCONAPRA (2014), “Informe sobre la situación de la seguridad vial en México”, Primera Edición, Ciudad de México, Mexico.

Secretaría de Salud (2016), Dirección General de Información en Salud. Base de datos sobre defunciones, Secretaría de Salud, Mexico, www.dgis.salud.gob.mx/contenidos/basesdedatos/std_defunciones.html (accessed 19 May 2016).

WHO (2011), “Basal Diagnostic of RE-10 (INSP-JHU)”, Information obtained from three cities: Guadalajara, Leon and Cuernavaca, 2011, World Health Organization, http://conapra.salud.gob.mx/Interior/Documentos/OMS_2013/mexico_OMS.pdf (accessed 19 May 2016).

United Nations Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) (2011), Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, World Health Organization, Geneva.

Websites

← 1. The Instituto Mexicano del Transporte (IMT) joined the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) Group in 2016. Data included in this report have not been validated by IRTAD. All data stem from IMT and the Ministry of Health. For more information please contact: [email protected] and [email protected].