- Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals
The Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals is an international
treatydesigned to increase road safety and aid international road traffic by standardising the signing system for road traffic ( road signs, traffic lightsand road markings) in use internationally.
This convention was agreed upon by the
United Nations Economic and Social Councilat the UNESC Conference on Road Traffic in Vienna 7 October 1968to 8 November 1968, was done in Vienna on 8 November 1968 and 6 June 1978. This conference also produced the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which complements this legislation by standardising international traffic laws.
The convention revised and substantially extended the earlier 1949
Geneva Protocol on Road Signs and Signals[http://www.geocities.com/bkkriders/law/unc/sign1949.html] , itself based in turn on the 1931 Geneva Convention concerning the Unification of Road Signals[http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/kinmokusei/convention/before/1931signals.html] .
Amendments, including new provisions regarding the legibility of signs, priority at roundabouts and new signs to improve safety in tunnels were adopted in 2003.
In article 2 the convention classes all road signs into a number of categories (A - H):
* A Danger warning signs
*C Prohibitory or restrictive signs
*F Information, facilities, or service signs
*G Direction, position, or indication signs
*H Additional panels
The convention then lays out precise colours, sizes and shapes for each of these classes of sign:
† May be written in English or the national language
It also specifies the symbols and
pictograms which may be used, and the orientations in which they may be used. When more than one is available, the same one must be used nationally. All signs, except for those which do not apply at night, must be reflective enough to been seen in darkness with headlights from a distance.
The convention also specifies road markings. All such markings must be less than 6 mm high, with cat's eye reflectors no more than 15 mm above the road surface.
The length and width of markings varies according to purpose, although no exact figures for size are stated; roads in built up areas should use a broken line for lane division, while continuous lines must only be used in special cases, such as reduced visibility or narrowed carriage ways.
All words painted on the road surface should be either of place names, or of words which are recognisable in most languages, such as "Stop" or "Taxi".
The Convention specifies the colours which may be used for traffic lights and their meanings, and places and purposes for which lights may be used, like so:
Red flashing lights may only be used at the locations specified above; any other use of the lights is in breach of the convention. Red lights must be placed on top when lights are stacked vertically, or on the side closest to oncoming traffic if stacked horizontally.
52 States at 30 June 2004: Albania, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, Chile, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
Vienna Convention on Road Traffic
Comparison of European traffic signs
* [http://www.unece.org/trans/conventn/signalse.pdf Full text of convention]
* [http://homepages.cwi.nl/~dik/english/traffic/ Detailed illustrations of signs and signals based on the convention]
* [http://www.unece.org/trans/roadsafe/wp12004.html Amendments adopted in 2003]
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