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ISO road safety standard could help save thousands of lives

by Roger Frost on
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ISO has just published ISO 39001, a management system standard for road traffic safety. The standard is a practical tool for governments, vehicle fleet operators and all organizations worldwide who want to reduce death and serious injury due to road accidents. ISO 39001 provides them with state-of-the-art requirements for safety aspects including speed, vehicle condition and driver awareness.

ISO 39001:2012, Road traffic safety (RTS) management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, is widely regarded as a major contribution to the United Nations' Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

Claes Tingvall, Chair of the ISO technical committee – ISO/TC 241, Road traffic safety management systems – that developed the standard, points out: "Road accidents account for some 1.3 million fatalities each year. The number of people killed is on the increase, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. It is crucial that governments commit to implementing a series of specific and attainable actions, including the setting of ambitious road casualty reduction targets. The sharing of know-how and experience is also needed.

"ISO 39001 will assist governmental and private sector organizations alike by providing a structured, holistic approach to road-traffic safety as a complement to existing programmes and regulations. It is based on the process approach, proven by successful ISO standards such as ISO 9001 for quality management, including the plan-do-check-act cycle, and a requirement for continual improvement."

The new standard lays down harmonized requirements, based on international expertise and applicable to all countries, to support all public or private sector organizations involved in regulating, designing or operating road transport. It will also help by providing a framework for contracts and communication between regulators, vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers.

ISO 39001 will be useful for organizations involved in road-safety related activities as varied as auditing the effectiveness of road safety programmes, such as for analyzing "black spots", or providing funding or awarding prizes for road safety.

"The standard has been developed with the support of experts from 40 countries and 16 liaison organizations, including the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the International Road Federation," according to Peter Hartzell, Secretary of ISO/TC 241.

"The committee will continue its work by following the global implementation of ISO 39001 and by providing awareness of lessons learnt from case studies. The committee will be developing other related standards so we would be happy to hear from other ISO member countries wishing to join us in the work."  

ISO 39001:2012, Road traffic safety (RTS) management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, costs 140 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication and Information department.