Higher safety standards for road infrastructure
Publication date: 23 June 2008
Higher safety standards for road infrastructure a priority for MEPs
MEPs adopted a legislative report on a directive to upgrade road safety management standards. The aim is to establish EU-wide standards on road infrastructure management. Safety standards for roads, in particular in road design maintenance, differ greatly between the Member States. The Directive requires the establishment and implementation of rules relating to road safety impact assessments, road safety audits, the management of road network safety and safety inspections by the Member States.
To raise standards, the draft directive provides for impact assessments of the effect of road building on safety, safety audits and inspections, and improved safety in the existing road network. This would include the identification of high-risk road sections as well as the use of intelligent road signs and intelligent transport systems and telematics services for emergency and signage purposes.
The EP Transport Committee initially rejected the draft directive outright, on the grounds that it risked creating too much red tape and that this area was best dealt with at national level.
EP negotiators have now reached an agreement reached with the Council, which the House endorsed in Strasbourg. The EP rapporteur is Helmuth Markov (GUE/NGL, DE) and was adopted with 498 votes in favour, 8 against and 6 abstentions.
The substance of the legislation is contained in the annexes to the directive but, under the compromise, these will be non-binding on Member States. Thus, the directive will in effect not lay down any major substantive requirements but rather serve as a set of guidelines for Member States on how to manage road infrastructure safety.
MEPs say that Member States must ensure that signs are in place to warn road users of road infrastructure segments that are undergoing repairs and which may thus jeopardise the safety of road users. These signs must also include signs visible during both day and night time and set up at a safe distance.
Parliament underlines that sufficient roadside parking areas are very important not only for crime prevention but also for road safety. Parking areas enable drivers to take rest breaks in good time and continue their journey with full concentration. The provision of sufficient safe parking areas should therefore form an integral part of road infrastructure safety management.
The rapporteur and on behalf of the EPP-ED, PES, ALDE, EUL/NGL and Greens/EFA tabled a range of amendments on assessments and audits, on sufficient roadside parking areas in order to promote crime prevention, and on the use of uniform signs EU-wide in order to warn road users of road infrastructure segments undergoing repairs.
Source: European Parliament
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