Yucatan’s legislature passed a new law in February, 2011, with a set of rules that takes 288 pages to describe. (Updated 6/28/2011) “Rules of the Road & Traffic Laws for the State of Yucatan”
A brief scan of the new Yucatecan Rules of the Road offers definitions of: cars, passengers, pedestrians, under-passes, and even fire hydrants, plus sections on who’s allowed to install topes, what you are supposed to keep in your Emergency Kit, approved types of cell phone usage, and another 250 or so odd pages on baby seats, helmets, insurance requirements, emissions testing, and special officers in bright Yellow Vests who will help guide us through the first 180 days of Yucatan’s plan for implementing the key points of a lifetime’s worth of Spanish-English translations of legalese.
Nitty gritty, the details, where the rubber meets the road, the place where the tough get going while the meek go home, run with the big dogs or stay on the porch, to be or not to be, that is the question. Enough stalling, here’s the bottom line: There are so many details in this law governing everything from no red lights on top of your car to the red lights required for nightime use as part of your emergency kit, from fire extinguishers to fines based on many times the Minimum Wage, it staggers the mind to imagine accurately and completely describing and condensing what may be as many as 4,050 details described in the innocuously named “Rules of the Road”.
Frankly, there are so many requirements and miniscule details covering Peritos to Peatones, that the Yucatecan law enforcement authorities could study for a year to learn just ½ the rules and it could take a decade to get laid-back Yucatecans to comply. What does a rational person do in this case? Ask the experts. In a search for what things are important, which are urgent, and just how will we eat the elephant, the Diario de Yucatan has interviewed a number of Yucatecan officials.
Since a single American author/chemist cannot be relied upon to accurately distill, condense, and crystallize such important and lengthy matters, we will report the important bits that Yucatecan officials chose to tell the Diario de Yucatan and some of the Diario’s expert’s opinions expressed in a series of articles starting on Feb. 15, 2011 – June 22 – June 23 – June 25, 2011 e.g. Diario de Yucatan 6/23/2011“
In no particular order, here’s a list of the key requirements and parameters that have been reported in the past week:
- The law prohibits and punishes drivers who talk on their cell phones without using hands-free sets. (p. 283)
- Children under 5 years of age must be buckled into car-seats. placed in the back seat of the car (officially: Silla Porta-Infante or Silla Porta-bebé). (Article 48, p. 30)
- Children weighing 10 kg (22 lbs) or less must use car-seats that face backwards (not facing in the direction of travel).
- Vehicles must have an insurance policy for at least “Responsabilidad Civil” coverage for injuries caused to third parties and their property, and each vehicle shall get a hologram window sticker that proves that they have an insurance policy in force. (Articles 104 & 105, p. 58)
- Vehicles will be required to get an annual gas emissions test. Vehicles that pass will be given a hologram window sticker. (Article 103, p. 58) Careful readers may note that this means each valid vehicle will ultimately display 3 Yucatecan stickers that are renewed annually.
- Drivers are prohibited from holding other people or animals, and are prohibited from doing any other activity that distracts them from driving. (Article 197, p. 96)
- Drivers may not wear headphones/earphones and no blowing the horn excessively, especially in front of public places. (Article 197, p. 96)
- Motorcyclists shall wear helmets and people in cars shall wear seatbelts.
- Only government officials are allowed to install topes. (???) (p. 272) Which leads to Annexo 1, pp. 246-286 that catalogue all the infractions in a beautiful tabular format.
- There are different categories of infractions, ranging from Warnings (Amonestacion o Apercibimiento p. 246) up to Serious Infractions (Sanciones Graves pp. 282-286) The serious infractions like excessive speeding (30% over the limit), driving while intoxicated, and driving with a revoked license can result in the driver being arrested on the spot and be assessed 16-100 days of minimum salary penalties. (1,000 pesos – 7,000 pesos)
- It is illegal for drivers to refuse drug or alcohol testing, and drug and alcohol use are prohibited inside vehicles on the public roads. (Article 279, p. 128)
- There is a State Registry for Vehicular Control (Registro Estatal de Control Vehicular), responsible for planning and implementation of traffic requirements on all public roads. It will:
–maintain a registery of all Yucatán licensed vehicles, including title changes, losses, thefts, or destruction.
–issue provisional permits to drive without license plates
–issue learner’s permits and driver’s licenses
–register commercial drivers or firms who offer passenger or freight services, including taxis, tow trucks, or vehicles for disabled people
–confiscate vehicles as determined by the competent authority.
- Only police cars and official emergency vehicles are allowed to have a blue or red light on top of the vehicle roof or to use a siren.
- New driver’s licenses will display driver’s approval to be an organ donor. (Article 128. p. 57)
- Owners must register their vehicle purchases within 30 days of the purchase.
- Advertising materials of any kind are prohibited from being attached to a vehicle.
- Double tinted or multiply tinted/smoked windows are not permitted.
- Vehicles must carry safety equipment including: Fire Extinguishers, Traffic- Cones/Reflective Triangles/Flags for daytime markers, and lights for night-time markers. (Secc. 9, p. 30)
- No unauthorized street drag racing.
- Radar detectors and all mechanisms and systems used for the purpose of eluding the police or enforcement of infractions are prohibited.
- Vehicle are prohibited from driving with more people than can be properly seated in seats.
- The total number of people traveling on a bicycle or motorcycle cannot exceed the number of seats or the number of seats listed on the “tarjeta de circulacion” (registration card).
- It is prohibited to drive a vehicle with packages or objects that obstruct the view to the front, the sides or the rear of the vehicle.\
- Front, side and back windows must be clear (transparent), shatter-proof, and without breaks (not cracked?) (Article 42, p. 28)
During the 180 day start-up period, drivers found guilty of minor infractions will be given two free warnings, issued by special yellow vested officers. The 180 day start-up period roughly ends on Dec. 22, 2011, to give people time buy to understand the law, equip their vehicles with seat belts, buy child seats, etc. After the 2 warnings, the new fines increase with each repeated infraction. Serious infractions have fines starting at $1000 pesos and go up to just under $6000 pesos for the 3rd infractions.
Speed Limits (when there are no signs posted):
Typical State highways: 80 kph maximum & 60 kph minimum, (50 mph/37 mph), Chicxulub-Uaymitun: 90 kph maximum, 70 kph min (56 mph/43 mph)
Merida’s Periferico: Center and left lanes: 90 kph/70 kph (maximum/minimum). Right lane: 80 kph/60 kph (maximum/minimum). Cargo vehicles are only allowed to use the right lane of the Periferico.
Divided Avenues & Primary trafficways: 60 kph/40 kph (37 mph / 25 mph maximum/minimum)
Calles: 40 kph/20 kph (25 mph/12 mph maximum/minimum)
Hospital, school, and church zones, (and meeting hall zones when marked): 20 kph (12 mph)
This article is meant as a public service announcement, not as legal advice, and this article will be updated as understandings and interpretations of the new law develop.
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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry
Read on, MacDuff.