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    New Road Rules for Yucatan

    Editors Note: The following article is a translation of an article which ran in Spanish in the paper called El Milenio. (To read the article in its original Spanish, click here). The article was very comprehensive, so we saw no need to reinvent the wheel.

    Transit Law of the State of Yucatan 2011

    The new rules for the Transit Law of the State of Yucatan have been effective since June 22nd 2011.  The following highlights 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.

    On February 22nd 2011, this new law was published in the Official Newspaper of the State of Yucatan. The Decree #380 under which it was published said that it would be effective 120 days after this date, on June 22nd.

    Following the list of requirements are a list of the infractions considered “serious” in the new rules. These are published so you can be aware and avoid being caught by them, and having to pay the penalties, which are also listed.

    The Vehicle

    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.
        • Brake lights.
        • Turn signals at the front and rear of the vehicle.
        • Parking lights.
        • 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.

    The Drivers

    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.

    Speed Limits

    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:
      • complete mirrors
      • complete headlights
      • brake lights
      • seat belts
      • 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.
      • Stopping abruptly.
      • Passing a vehicle without announcing yourself (by flickering headlights).
      • Passing cars on overpasses.
      • Double parking.
      • 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.
      • Reckless driving.
      • 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

    We welcome your comments or questions. We also suggest that you read the companion article published on YucatanLiving.com about the Yucatan Road Rules.

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    1. dermot kenny
      July 5, 2011

      So does one driving with a US or Canadian plate fall into the category “out of state”. I was informed by Mexican customs that my car permit goes with my FM2 and I can drive in any state in Mexico, but cannot drive outside of Mexico. Last week I went through a police road check coming from Uxmal and the officer told me that I need to get a new permit. He then let me continue on my journey. I am assuming if I drive outside Mexico and reenter I would have to go through the process again.

    2. July 6, 2011

      Dermot, yes your temporary import car permit goes with your FM2 and yes you can drive in any state in Mexico as long as your import permit is valid. What the police officer told you is not correct, if your FM2 is valid then your permit is valid. If you drive outside Mexico you have to cancel your import permit when you cross the border and request a new one when reentering; but this was not the case, since Uxmal is in Mexico.

    3. travis
      September 5, 2011

      Is one in violation of new laws if driving a US registered car with expired license plates? Was told auto had to be 10 years old before you could get a Yucatan plate and that US plate was OK, even if expired, as long as your immigration documents were valid. Expiration date of car permit would be considered same as your fm2 or fm3.

    4. September 7, 2011

      Travis, you are not in violation if your US plates have expired as long as your temporary import permit is valid and yes, the import car permit expires if you let your FM3 or FM2 expire. The only thing you mention that is not accurate is that now only cars with 9 or 8 years old can have Yucatan´s license plates, according to changes in the Mexican regulations effective since July 2011; it is not 10 years anymore.

    5. Cindi
      November 12, 2011

      I see on Yucatan Living that we may need this booklet for the car: Ley de Tránsito
      and can purchase from your office. Are you able to mail one out to a US address so we have it before we leave for Yucatan?

    6. November 14, 2011

      Cindi, yes we can mail it to a US address, however I think for practical matters it would be better that we send it to your home here in Yucatan, just let us know the address and we will send it on the date you want us to. Let me know if you agree to this, please contact me at adriana@yucatanyes.com

    7. Barry
      September 27, 2012

      The section, “Verification – All vehicles must have valid ‘verification of contaminants’ hologram issued by the SSP in order to drive the roads of Yucatan state.” Is this the emissions sticker or something totally different?

    8. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      September 29, 2012

      Barry, we just published an article about the tarjeta de circulation. We are pretty sure this sticker is obtained when you get this card. Please let us know if you find out differently!

    9. Danny
      October 29, 2012

      Recently my wife went through a broker and converted a U.S. vehicle and is getting Yucatan plates. She has an FM2. My vehicle is here on a tourist Visa. Can we get her a temporary permit for my U.S. vehicle now and put it on her FM2 since the other vehicle is legal in Mexico? I assume I will have to go to Belize to do this if it’s possible?

    10. November 6, 2012

      Danny, as she doesn´t have a temporarly car imported in Mexico anymore, yes she can get another car imported temporarly, in order to do this you should go to Belize cancel the permit on your name and enter Mexico importing the car in her name.

    11. Danny
      November 6, 2012

      Thanks for the response Betty. The title for the vehicle is in my name – does that need to be changed before the trip to Belize border? Is insurance coverage a concern?

    12. December 3, 2012

      Danny, if you and your wife will be travelling together the import permit can go in her name even the title is on yours if you ask it for it. Insurance is always recommended to have it. Good luck on your trip to Belize.

    13. Phil
      July 1, 2013

      I am thinking about purchasing a vehicle here in the states to have when I visit the Yucatan, which I do for extended periods of time.( Four to six Months ) What are the latest requirements as far as the age of the vehicle ,emissions testing etc ? Do I have to be a citizen of Mexico to get plates for the vehicle? Does the vehicle have to be purchased in Mexico to receive Mexican plates? Will I have to keep going to Belize for a current sticker every 6 months? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

    14. Lupe
      July 5, 2013

      Can I get the rules of the road in English,Iam Mexican by birth but have been away for some time.

    15. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      July 9, 2013

      Phil, if you want to temporarily import the vehicle up to 6 months, it can be any vehicle, it does not matter the year it has. On the other hand, you want to import it permanently, it must have 8 or 9 years, must have a non contaminant test and must be NAFTA manufactured. You don´t need to be a Mexican citizen or to have purchased the vehicle in Meixco to get Mexican license plates, but you need to fulfill the 3 requirements mentioned above. If you import the vehicle permanently, you won´t have to drive it to the border. If you import it temporarily, you will need to do it every 6 months.

    16. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      July 9, 2013

      Lupe, the book of the rules for driving is only available in Spanish, unless you want a translation, for which we could provide you with the contact information of someone who could do it.

    17. Pat
      November 9, 2013

      Where can I obtain a copy of these rules? Is there a fee?
      Thank you

    18. Yucatan Expatriate Services
      November 13, 2013

      Pat, you can obtain one here at our offices. The cost of it is 50 pesos. We are in calle 25 No. 157 x 28 y 30, col. García Ginerés, Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM.

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