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Road Safety

In the White Paper on European Transport Policy for 2010 and in its Communication on a European Road Safety Action Programme of June 2003, the European Commission announced that it would take the initiative on road infrastructure safety and subsequently the European Parliament invited the Commission to provide guidelines for high-risk spot management and road safety audits.

Directive 2008/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on Road Infrastructure Safety Management has the objective to ensure that safety is integrated in all phases of planning, design and operation of road infrastructure in the Trans-European Road Network (TEN-T). The Directive requires all Member States to undertake Road Safety Audits, Road Safety Impact Assessments, Road Safety Inspections and high-frequency Collision Investigations on the TEN-T roads.

The directive sets out four areas of analysis in relation to existing roads and new roads. Network Safety Ranking and Road Safety Inspections are targeted at the existing TEN-T road network whilst Road Safety Impact Assessments and Road Safety Audits are targeted at new TEN-T roads.

Towards a European Road Safety Area

What is the issue?

Despite success through previous EU programmes, European roads are still far from safe – in 2009, 35,000 people died in traffic accidents and over 1.7 million were injured.

What are the benefits?

The new EU road safety guidelines would aim to cut European road deaths by 50 % by 2020. To do so, they would seek to make users, vehicles and infrastructure, safer through a mix of measures – national cooperation, sharing best practice, research and studies, awareness campaigns and in some cases possibly regulation. Specifically, this would involve:

  • encouraging road users to drive more safely by creating a European road safety education and training strategy;
  • implementing EU-wide road safety legislation to ensure all EU nationals are treated equally when traffic rules are broken;
  • encouraging EU countries to apply safety regulations to rural roads that are already in operation for main roads and tunnels;
  • recognition of technical inspections in all EU countries (e.g. if your car passes an MOT in the UK, this would automatically be valid in other EU countries);
  • making vulnerable road users – especially motorcyclists – safer by improving communication between authorities and road users, and introducing periodic inspections of motorbikes, mopeds, etc.;
  • improving tools for collecting and analysing accidents, to improve monitoring of road safety progress in EU countries and provide accurate data for developing new road safety measures;

Why is the EU taking action?

To build on past success – over 78,000 lives were saved through the EU’s 2001-2010 road safety programme. Road safety problems are common to all EU countries – the EU can help national governments work together and share data.

When are the EU Road Safety Guidelines likely to come into effect?

Gradually between 2011 and 2020.

The Communication from the Commission Towards a European Safety Area: policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020, can be found here

Further information, related to Road Safety on the Maltese roads, is available on this website, including Road Safety Ranking, the Technical Guidelines for the Preparation of Road Safety Audits, Road Safety Impact Assessments and Road Safety Inspections (pdf, 2011, 5Mb), and Road Safety Education 


The EU launched a public consultation for a strategy to reduce injuries resulting from road traffic accidents. The consultation was open for public from the 17th of April 2012 until the 22nd of June 2012.

For further details and follow-up of this consultation, please click here

For more EU related consultations, please click here INTERNE LINK


Last Updated: 15/09/2020