Road infrastructure safety management

Directive 2008/96/EC on road infrastructure safety management

It aims to reduce road deaths and serious injuries on EU road networks by making road infrastructure safer.


Directive 2008/96/EC was amended by Directive (EU) 2019/1936 as part of the European Commission’s third ‘Europe on the Move’ package.

As amended, the directive requires EU countries to set up and implement procedures relating to:

road safety impact assessments;
road safety audits;
road safety inspection;
network-wide road safety assessments;
exchange of best practices and their continuous improvement.


The amended directive has an extended scope. It applies to:

roads which are part of the trans-European road network, to motorways and to other primary roads, whether they are at the design stage, under construction or in operation;
other roads situated outside urban areas, which do not serve properties bordering on them, and which are completed using EU funding, except for roads not open to, or not designed for, general traffic.

Road safety assessment

EU countries must carry out a network-wide road safety assessment, by 2024 at the latest and every 5 years subsequently, on the entire road network in operation covered by the directive. These assessments must assess accident and impact severity risk, based on:
a visual examination, either on site or by electronic means, of the design characteristics of the road; and
an analysis of sections of the road network which have been in operation for more than 3 years and where there have been a large number of serious accidents in proportion to the traffic flow.

Assessment findings must be followed up by targeted road safety inspections or, if necessary, remedial action.
Periodic road safety inspections must also be made, frequently enough to maintain adequate safety levels for the road infrastructure in question.
The specific needs of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians must be considered systematically in all road safety management procedures.
Safety assessments must be published to highlight the safety level of road infrastructures across the EU.

Road markings and road signs

Existing and future procedures for road markings and road signs must focus on readability and detectability for human drivers and automated driver assistance systems.
An assessment by a group of experts established by the Commission must, by June 2021, assess the opportunity to set common rules taking into account:
the interaction between various driver assistance technologies and infrastructure;
the effect of the weather and atmospheric phenomena as well as traffic on road markings and road signs present on EU territory;
the type and frequency of maintenance efforts necessary for various technologies, including an estimate of costs.

Information and transparency

EU countries must notify the Commission of all the motorways and primary roads on their networks, as well as those roads exempt because they have a proven low safety risk, by 17 December 2021.
The Commission must publish a map of the European road network within the scope of the directive, accessible online, highlighting different categories according to their level of safety.


Directive 2008/96/EU has applied since 19 December 2008 and had to become law in the EU countries by 19 December 2010.
Amending Directive (EU) 2019/1936 has applied since 16 December 2019 and has to become law in the EU countries by 17 December 2021.


Directive 2008/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on road infrastructure safety management (OJ L 319, 29.11.2008, pp. 59-67)

Successive amendments to Directive 2008/96/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and repealing Decision No 661/2010/EU (OJ L 348, 20.12.2013, pp. 1-128)


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