Brussels, 23 January 2014
Road safety: Commission takes Portugal to Court for failure to establish guidelines for assessing infrastructure safety
The European Commission has decided to take Portugal to the Court of Justice of the European Union because Portugal has not adopted and notified compulsory guidelines for the application of safety management procedures for road infrastructure in the trans-European network (TEN-T). The adoption of these guidelines would save more lives on Portuguese roads, reinforcing the trend in Portugal towards fewer deaths on the road.
The main purpose of Directive 2008/96/EC is to establish management procedures ensuring that the road network is safe. For new roads, it provides that safety impact assessments and audits have to be carried out at different stages of planning and construction work. For existing roads, a periodic safety ranking to find the most dangerous sections (blackspots) and periodic safety inspections are mandatory. The directive applies only to roads that are part of the TEN-T network.
Directive 2008/96/EC does not prescribe in detail which methods Member States may use to assess the safety of their roads. However, it lists a number of aspects that the assessments need to cover. To ensure a proper application of the directive, Member States are obliged to establish guidelines laying down the practical steps to be followed by national authorities or infrastructure managers in assessing the safety of roads. Without such guidelines, Directive 2008/96/EC risks not being applied uniformly and correctly.
The deadline for adopting the guidelines was 19 December 2011, and they should have been communicated by 19 March 2012 to the Commission. Guidelines are publicly available.
Road safety facts
For 2012, Portugal reported 748 road deaths (71 deaths per million inhabitants) (1), which is more than the EU average (55 per million inhabitants). Fatalities occurred mostly in urban areas (55%) and on rural roads (36%), while motorways accounted only for 9%.
Portugal reduced the number of road deaths by 44% between 2001 and 2010, which corresponds to the EU average (down 43%). Between 2011 and 2012, Portugal achieved a reduction by 19% in only one year, which is better than the EU average.
For more information
On the January infringement package decisions, see MEMO/14/36
On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12
More information on infringement procedures
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