2.1 - A Global Vision Of Road Safety

Version 2


    Road safety revolves around three complementary focus areas: 


    • Primary or active safety includes all of the measures and action taken to prevent accidents: driver education and training, infrastructure improvements, vehicle equipment, road legislation and standards, etc.
    • Secondary or passive safety includes all of the systems designed to limit the impact and severity of accidents: vehicle safety (restraint systems, crumple zones, etc.), road equipment, passively-safe obstacles, etc.
    • Tertiary safety refers to all the measures taken and resources mobilized following an accident to assist and care for the injured


    Primary, secondary and tertiary safety measures: examples


    Primary safety

    Secondary safety

    Tertiary safety

    Avoid accidents

    Limit accident impact

    Manage post-accident response


    . Driving aids (ABS, ESP, ACC, ESC, etc.)

    . Roadworthiness inspections and servicing

    . Lighting

    . Tires

    . Seat belts and other restraint systems

    . Head rests

    . Airbags

    . Crumple zones

    . Collapsible steering column

    . In-vehicle emergency calling

    . Automatic transmission of personal medical records

    . Systems and driving aids to prevent secondary accidents

    . Information system to facilitate the removal of injured passengers from wrecked vehicles

    Vehicle driver and occupants

    . Driving training courses

    . Information and awareness campaigns for road users

    . Learn what to do to help save lives following an accident

    . Training and awareness courses to prevent secondary accidents

    . Access to personal medical records

    . Learn what to do to help save lives following an accident


    . Road signs

    . Road design and equipment

    . Traffic calming devices

    . Elimination, neutralization or treatment of obstacles to make them non-aggressive

    . Vehicle safety and recovery zones

    . Advanced communication systems to locate accidents quickly and launch the emergency response chain


    . Speed limits

    . Obligation to wear seat belts

    . Define traffic offenses and penalties

    . Safety and equipment standards for vehicles and infrastructures 

    . Laws and regulations to codify vehicle and infrastructure equipment for blanket usage

    . Laws, regulations and standards to make warning systems mandatory in vehicles or on roads

    . Regulations on the deployment of emergency response facilities near road infrastructures

    . Legislation on the communication of medical records


    . Roadside control and penalty facilities (speed traps, police patrol cars, etc.)

    . Roadside awareness-raising campaigns

    . Rest areas

    . Road safety campaigns


    Organization and coordination of the emergency response and care chain


    To be fully effective, road safety should combine measures and resources in all three areas: primary, secondary and tertiary safety. It should also address every component of road traffic: vehicles, road users, infrastructures, legislation, the environment, etc.

    This comprehensive approach is becoming increasingly widespread, especially in cooperative structures:


    • Within the same country, between the various road safety stakeholders (the government, local authorities, automakers, transport authorities, public works companies, etc.)
    • In France, for example, the projects undertaken by the PREDIT (Land Transport Research and Innovation Program) draw on expertise from a range of business segments
    • On the international scene, thanks mainly to major road safety programs coordinated by NGOs or global organizations
    • In 2011, for instance, the UN launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety, along with a plan and detailed objectives