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Road Traffic Safety

In a world where road deaths kill more people than malaria, UNECE manages a total of 57 transport-related international legal instruments, which are negotiated by governments and become legally binding for countries that accede to them. These legal instruments cover:

  • Traffic rules
  • Road signs and signals
  • Construction and technical inspection of vehicles
  • Road infrastructure
  • Border crossing facilitation
  • Driving times and rest periods for professional drivers
  • Safe transport of dangerous goods and hazardous materials

The legal instruments also cover related social legislation for professional drivers and transport operators, regulatory frameworks for liability and insurance, as well as economic regulations governing international road transport. All conventions are administered by the relevant Working Parties or Administrative Committees in charge of updating and amending these instruments in the framework of the Inland Transport Committee (ITC).

The UNECE secretariat incorporates a governance structure that offers a multi-dimensional approach in effectively assisting government accession to UN road safety legal instruments, as well as aiding implementation.

The Working Party on Road Traffic Safety (WP.1), the main coordinating body in the area of road safety, works in conjunction with other working parties to offer a platform that enables cooperation and the exchange of information and best practices among governments.

The core areas of the UNECE secretariat’s work can be divided into three pillars: regulatory, analytical and technical assistance. The secretariat manages a regulatory framework to which governments can adhere, while also conducting analytical work which supports the development of legal instruments and explores emerging challenges that require governments to take common action. The third pillar focuses on technical assistance and capacity building to help countries better implement international transport legislation. In this context, UNECE staff travel to the developing world to promote accession to, and the better implementation of, the legal instruments.

Relevant publications