I am publishing two important documents received having to do with driving in the Yucatan and how to deal with a police stop.
If you don’t drive then you can ignore these updates but otherwise it is important information to have.
Road Rules for Yucatan
The following rules for the Transit Law of the State of Yucatan have been effective for the last 6 years, The Yucatan Times Newsroom just thought it could be a good idea to remind all our English-speaking friends driving out there about these regulations.
We are highlighting some violations that are considered “very serious” and that can cost you up to five thousand six hundred seventy five pesos ($5,675.00 pesos) in penalties.
Following the list of requirements are a list of the infractions considered “serious”. These are published so you can be aware and avoid being caught by them, and having to pay the penalties, which are also listed.
All vehicles must be functioning in satisfactory conditions. The Secretary (SSP or Secretaría de Protección y Vialidad) can remove from general circulation those vehicles that do not have one or more of the following obligatory devices or mechanisms.
Mirrors – Two side mirrors and a rear view mirror
Lights – Vehicles must have the following…
Headlights that cast bright white light and two rear running lights.
Turn signals at the front and rear of the vehicle.
Lights to illuminate the license plates.
Seat Belts – The vehicle must have seat belts for driver and each passenger.
Horn – The vehicle must be equipped with a horn that emits sounds audible to 60 meters.
Muffler – The vehicle must be equipped with a muffler to avoid noise over 90 decibels.
Tires – The vehicle must have the following:
Pneumatic tires to ensure the safety of driver and passengers.
A spare tire inflated and in good working condition.
Tools – The vehicle must have the necessary tools for changing tires and minor repairs.
Signaling – The vehicle must have at least 3 emergency signaling and safety devices, for day and night, as follows:
Day: Cones and/or reflective triangles.
Night: Flashlights that emit red light, amber light bubbles, portable reflective devices or flares.
Fire extinguisher – The vehicle must have a fire extinguisher in good condition for immediate use.
Infant carrier seat – The vehicle must have an infant carrier seat to transport child passengers under five years of age. It should be placed in the back seat. Children of five years or older that weigh less than 10 kg must travel in the child seat facing the back of the vehicle.
Brakes – The vehicle must have brakes in good condition that can be easily activated by the driver.
Polarization – Only vehicles with polarized windows that fit the following characteristics can be driven:
HP grade 38 to 28, and NR grade 38 to 28.
Vehicles of other states with polarized windows higher than those described above may only be driven with their windows open.
Tools, signaling equipment and fire extinguisher can now be obtained at any car dealership upon request.
Prohibited devices – The following are strictly prohibited:
Plate holders that prohibit the identification of the plate at a distance of 15 meters.
Parts of vehicles that in some way can cause an accident.
Horns and other warning devices that emit noises above 90 decibels.
Direct mufflers or exhaust valves that produce noise over 90 decibels.
Screens, TV monitors or players that are in the driver’s view. An exception is any device necessary for the driver to see pedestrians boarding or deboarding, cameras that allowing views of what is behind the vehicle or GPS devices.
Plates – Owners of vehicles with valid license plates from other states will have 15 calendar days after entering Yucatan to register the car in the Yucatan if they intend to stay here more than 60 calendar days.
Verification – All vehicles must have valid ‘verification of contaminants’ hologram issued by the SSP in order to drive the roads of Yucatan state. This sticker can be obtained at the Police office located on Avenida Benito Juárez García No. 413 in the Ciudad Industrial. The the office in front of the bread factory “Bimbo” on the road to the city of Umán, after passing the airport of Merida.
Hologram of insurance against damage to third parties – Originally, the law said that all vehicles must always carry the hologram issued by the SSP stating that the vehicle has an existing policy that covers at least the liability for damage to third parties. We have been informed that this part of the Law is going to be modified and instead of a hologram issued by the SSP, it will only be necessary to show the car’s current insurance policy.
Theft of vehicles – The owner of a vehicle shall report a theft of their immediately. The owner of the car will be held responsible for violations committed with that car until the time of the theft is made known to the SSP.
Drivers should drive defensively, with the necessary diligence and caution to avoid harm to themselves or others. Duties of drivers include:
Driving with both hands gripping the steering wheel of the vehicle and maintaining the proper position.
Giving the insurance agent the copy of the insurance policy when requested to do so after an accident.
Starting the car engine cautiously and gradually.
Performing speed decreases or increases gradually.
Boarding or deboarding passengers at a distance from the curb not exceeding 30 centimeters.
Prohibitions while driving include:
Using mobile devices and any other communication system while driving, unless the communication takes place via a hands-free device.
Wearing headphones, except for those devices that have a single handset.
Holding people, animals, objects or performing any action that distracts your attention or keeps you from driving.
Changing lanes into overpasses.
Driving with stereos playing sound that exceeds the decibel limits established in the regulations. (90 decibels)
Racing with other vehicles or passing them using the same lane, or using more than one lane at a time.
The speed limits on highways, unless otherwise posted are:
On state highways: Maximum of 80 km per hour and minimum of 60 km per hour.
Avenues divided by a median: Maximum of 60 km per hour and minimum of 40 km per hour
Streets: Maximum of 40 km per hour and minimum of 20 km per hour
Zones of schools, hospitals, churches and in front of meeting points: 20 km per hour.
On the street known as the Periférico in Mérida:
Central lane: Maximum of 90 km per hour and minimum of 70 km per hour
Left lane: Maximum of 90 km per hour and minimum of 70 km per hour
Right lane: Maximum of 80 km per hour and minimum of 60 km per hour
Some of the penalties that can be assessed are as follows:
For driving a vehicle that does not have:
a spare tire
Penalty: Up to $283.50 pesos
Mild Sanctions, Category I:
Driving a vehicle with parts that can break off and cause an accident.
Driving with items or objects that obstruct the driver’s view.
Having a horn or loud muffler (+ 90 decibels).
Not registering a new vehicle in the State Register of Vehicle Control.
Driving without holding the steering wheel with both hands.
Starting the car engine abruptly.
Driving with the stereo at high volume exceeding 90 decibels.
Transporting a greater number of people than is indicated on the registration certificate (tarjeta de circulación).
Changing lanes abruptly.
Not slowing down on curves or bridges.
Passing a vehicle without announcing yourself (by flickering headlights).
Passing cars on overpasses.
Using high beams in well lit areas.
Not yielding to car trying to pass from behind (that announces itself with a flicker of high beam headlights).
Penalty: Up to $453.00 pesos
Mild Sanctions, Category II:
Driving without license plates or a temporary permit, or with permits or license that are not in force.
Driving without a driver’s license.
Driving with an expired permit.
Parking unusable vehicles in public roads for more than 72 hours.
Installing buoys or stops (topes) without authorization.
Displaying vehicles for sale outside the authorized areas.
Penalty: Up to $680.00 pesos
Mild Sanctions, Category III
Refusing to show the registration certificate (tarjeta de circulación) or driving without it.
Driving without glasses or contact lenses when your driver’s license indicates that they are required.
Passing emergency vehicles in emergency service.
Parking in areas with special ramps for pedestrians or persons with disabilities.
Refusing to remove a vehicle involved in an event or car accident in the road.
Penalty: Up to $850.00 pesos
Serious penalties, Category I
Not having an infant carrier seat for an infant riding in the car.
Driving without license plates or a temporary permit.
Failure to yield in school zones.
Driving while wearing headphones.
Not using a seat belt.
Passing in an intersection, a tunnel or on an overpass on two-lane roads.
Not stopping at a red traffic light.
Penalties: Up to $1,020.60 pesos
Serious penalties, Category II
Driving with polarized windows.
Driving with mechanisms or systems designed and used to evade the authority, such as radar detectors.
Using mobile devices or communication systems while driving.
Holding people or animals while driving.
Throwing cigarette butts or glass containers on public roads under state jurisdiction.
Exceeding the speed limit or driving at a slower speed than established.
Driving on the right when the speed is less than the minimum allowed.
Failure to yield to emergency vehicles.
Driving with a blood alcohol level between 0.60/100ml and 0.079 ml/100ml.
Driving with a suspended license or permit (This violation will result in the retention of your vehicle).
Penalties: Up to $1,417.5 pesos
Some very serious penalties
Not agreeing to undergo a drug, alcohol or other type of test upon request (This violation will result in retention of your vehicle and arrest for 36 hours).
Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than 0.80mg/100ml (This violation will result in retention of your vehicle and arrest for 36 hours).
Exceeding 30% of the maximum speed limit.
Driving with revoked license or permit (This violation will result in the retention of your vehicle).
Penalties: Up to $5,675.00 pesos
Beach Area News Update February 10, 2018
Summary of Meeting with Yucatan Security Officials
On January 29, 2018, community representatives from Beach Area News met with the three top security officials responsible for police activities in the Yucatan overall, and the beach area specifically. The purpose of the meeting was to clarify what the police are permitted to do under state and federal law with respect to stopping motorists, giving out traffic tickets, and handling money.
Attending the meeting were the following individuals representing the Yucatan State and Municipal Police Force:
Comandante Jorge Albert Camargo, Chief Operating Officer of the Integrated Centers for the Yucatan State Government, Coast Area. He reports to the Security Secretary (Cmdt. Luis Felipe Saidén Ojeda) who in turn reports to the Governor.
Cell phone: 99 93 51 40 55
Comandante Pablo Pech Pech – Chief of the Municipal Police Force of Progreso, who patrol the beach communities. He reports to Cmdt. Albert Camargo. Cell phone: 99 91 16 08 10
Comandante Luis Varguez Chacom – Head of the state police officers who patrol the beach area. He also reports to Cmdt. Albert Camargo. Cell phone: 99 91 29 57 68
Representing Beach Area News were Speranza Avram and Dave Bloch (Progreso), Karen Cloutier (Chixculub), and David and Nora Nevers (Churburna). Yucatan State officials William Pérez, Foreign Affairs Coordinator in the Governor’s office and his assistant Olivia Bakker, assisted with facilitation.
One thing to remember about police services in Mexico that as a result of a recent change in the law, the municipal police now report directly to the state security chief, not to a local mayor. The municipal police force and the state police work together to provide security services in Yucatan and in the beach area. Each of these officials requested that if expat residents or visitors have concerns or questions about a specific incident with a specific police officer that you contact one of them directly, either by calling their cells or using WhatsApp so that they can be of better service to the expat community.
These three officials provided answers to the following specific questions about being stopped by a police officer:
- Under what circumstances can a police officer pull over a motorist?
There are generally three reasons why you might be pulled over by an officer. First, you might have committed a traffic violation. These include items like not wearing a seat belt as required by a law, using a cell phone while driving (which is prohibited by law), running a stop sign or a red light, speeding, or any number of infractions. Second, the officer might suspect you committed an infraction, but is not sure, and therefore, will pull you over to confirm. Finally, you might be pulled over because the police are checking IDs or documentation because they are searching for criminals to a crime that has nothing to do with you.
- What can you expect from a police officer who pulls over a motorist?
The police officer should explain why he pulled you over. If you do not speak Spanish, you have a few options to help communicate with the officer. First, you can contact the following bi-lingual member of the tourist police, Ángel Eduardo Rodríguez Pérez, Cellphone: 99 93 61 21 84 Sr. Rodriguez works Monday – Saturday, 8 am to 8 pm and is available to help translate communicate you have with other police officers. If Sr. Rodriguez is not available, you might try calling a bilingual friend or using Google translate to help you communicate with the officer.
If you are pulled over for a traffic violation, you are supposed to receive a traffic ticket. You should receive this ticket whether you believe you committed the violation or not. The fine identified on the ticket must be paid at the appropriate fiscal office in Progreso, Merida or on-line (see info, below). If you wish to contest the ticket because you do not believe you committed an infraction, you may file an appeal at the same office – see addresses and locations for each ticket payment or appeal at the end this article. But regardless of whether you committed an infraction or not, the police are supposed to give you a ticket to either pay or appeal.
PAYING A TICKET ON-LINE
If you receive a ticket from the State Police, it will take five days before the ticket will be entered into the system so you can pay the ticket on-line. This only works if the State Police have not taken your license plate or your driver’s license. ,
To pay a ticket on-line, go here: https://www.multasdetransito.com.mx/infracciones/yucatan
You can also pay at modular system called USE which you can find in the malls in Merida.
To located the modular payment system go here: http://aafy.yucatan.gob.mx/centros.php
These last two options work if the police have not taken either your driver’s license or your car plate.
If you are pulled over for a routine security check, just provide the documentation requested and answer questions the officer may have. You should always have your original personal identification and original vehicle documentation in your car, including your passport if you are here on a tourist visa. Remember that you do not need a Mexican driver’s license to drive in Yucatan – just a valid license from another jurisdiction. The office may request that you step out of your vehicle so that they can inspect the inside of the vehicle. If you have not committed a traffic violation, and have answered the officer’s questions, the officer should return your documents and you will be able to drive away. If you have any problems getting your documents back, or feel like you are being harassed for no reason, call one of the police officials listed at the front of this document.
- Can the police keep my driver’s license or remove my plates?
If you receive a ticket for a traffic violation, one of your car plates and/ or your driver’s license may or may not be seized based on the following circumstances:
- State patrol: If you receive a ticket from a state police officer, and you have current Yucatan car plates and a current driver’s license issued by the state of Yucatan, the police should not request these items from you. If your plates are not from Yucatan, but from another state in Mexico or are foreign plates, and/or your driver’s license is from another state in Mexico or from another country, then the police have the right to take your plate or your license in order to guarantee that you will pay the fine.
- Municipal patrol: If you receive a ticket from a municipal officer, they have the right to seize your plate or driver’s license, regardless of whether they are from Yucatan or not. They will take only one of your plates, either the front or the back.
4. If my plate or license are taken, how quickly can I get them back? And how can I drive somewhere to pay the fine if I don’t have plates or my license?
If you received a ticket from the Progreso Municipal Police, you should be able to pay your ticket within four-hours of receiving it. For a ticket received from a State Police officer, it will be ready for payment within 24-hours if you go to the office in Merida, or within 5 days if you wish to pay on –line. If you are pulled over by an officer for failing to have plate on your car, show him/her your ticket and explain you are driving to the office to pay your fine. When you pay your fine, you will immediately receive your plate or license.
- What should you do if a police officer suggests it might easier to “pay the fine now” to avoid the hassle of paying the ticket? And what if you, as the motorist, offer to “pay the fine now” to avoid the hassle of paying the ticket at a later time?
It is against the law for a police officer to handle money, under any circumstances. It is also against the law for anyone to offer money to police officers. If a police officer suggests that you pay the fine directly to him/her, politely refuse, and tell them that you want the ticket. Use your cell phone to take their photo, including the name on the shirt, and also a photo of the patrol car that shows the large four numbers on the sides. Or write down the numbers of the patrol car. You are permitted to take photos of the police and their patrol cars. Send the information identifying the police officer who requested money along with the date, time and location of the incident to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward the information to the appropriate officials. Or you can send this information directly to the Yucatan security officials identified at the beginning of this article.
While it might be tempting to avoid the hassle of going to Progreso or Merida to pay a traffic ticket, offering to “pay the fine now” only perpetuates a system that encourages officers to demand payment directly, rather than following the law. If fewer motorists offered to pay the police directly, and instead reported offending officers to their supervisors, it will not only help the department remove “bad apples”, it will encourage remaining officers to follow the law. At our meeting with security officials, they confirmed that they had already terminated the employment of some officers who were caught demanding payment from motorists directly.
LOCATIONS TO PAY OR APPEAL A TRAFFIC TICKET:
To pay or appeal a ticket given by a Municipal Police officer:
Policía Municipal Progreso Calle 37 por 14 y 16, Fraccionamiento Héctor Victoria, Puerto Progreso, Yucatán.
Citizen attention Department or Cmdt.’s Pech Office/ Departamento Atención ciudadana u oficina del Cmdt. Pech
To pay or appeal ticket given by a Yucatan State Police officer:
Centro de Servicios de Yucatán.
- 20 #284 x 3C y 49 diagonal, Xcumpich, Mérida, Yucatán, C.P. 97119
Municipio: Mérida. Tel.: 930-32-00 extensión 40502, 40503, 40504. Mon-Fri from 08:00 till 19:30 & Saturday from de 08:00 till 17:30
Comandante Jorge Albert Camargo’s Office in Progreso
Calle 101 Num. 279-A x 72, Fracc. Ciénaga 2000. it is a grey Police station – best to call first as is not always in the office.