Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals

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Convention on Road Signs and Signals
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Signatories and ratifications as of 2018
  Signed
  Ratified
  Uses the SADC Convention
  Uses the SIECA Convention
Signed 8 November 1968
Location Vienna
Effective 6 June 1978
Condition Ratification by 15 states
Signatories 37
Parties 68
Depositary UN Secretary-General
Languages Chinese, English, French, Russian, Arabic and Spanish

The Convention on Road Signs and Signals, commonly known as the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals, is a multilateral treaty designed to increase road safety and aid international road traffic by standardising the signing system for road traffic (road signs, traffic lights and road markings) in use internationally.

This convention was agreed upon by the United Nations Economic and Social Council at its Conference on Road Traffic in Vienna 7 October to 8 November 1968, was concluded in Vienna on 8 November 1968, and entered into force on 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,[1] itself based in turn on the 1931 Geneva Convention concerning the Unification of Road Signals.[2]

Amendments, including new provisions regarding the legibility of signs, priority at roundabouts, and new signs to improve safety in tunnels were adopted in 2003.

Both the Vienna Convention and the Geneva Protocol reflected a common consensus on road traffic signs that evolved primarily in Europe in the mid-20th century. Most jurisdictions outside Europe have not adopted either treaty, and maintain their own systems of road traffic signals. For example, the U.S. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) does not follow the symbol policy espoused by the Vienna Convention; for example signs for speed limits and forbidden parking are among the most visible differences. In order to make it accepted in as many countries as possible, the convention allows some variations, for example danger warning signs can be triangular or square diamond in shape and road markings can be white or yellow.

An alternative convention called the SADC-RTSM, provided by the Southern African Development Community, is used by 10 countries in southern Africa. Many of the rules and principles of the SADC-RTSM are similar to those of the Vienna Convention.

Rules

Road signs

In article 2 the convention classes all road signs into a number of categories (A – H):

The convention then lays out precise colours, sizes, and shapes for each of these classes of sign:

Class of sign Shape Ground Border Size Symbol Examples
Danger warning sign Equilateral triangle White or yellow Red 0.9 m (large), 0.6 m (small) Black or dark blue Vienna Convention road sign Aa-1a-V1.svgVienna Convention road sign Aa-1a-V3.svg
Diamond Yellow Black 0.6 m (large), 0.4 m (small) Black or dark blue Vienna Convention road sign Ab-1a-V1.svg
Priority signs
Give Way sign Inverted equilateral triangle White or yellow Red 0.9 m (large), 0.6 m (small) None Vienna Convention road sign B1-V1.svgVienna Convention road sign B1-V2.svg
Stop sign Octagon Red White 0.9 m (large), 0.6 m (small) Stop written in white Vienna Convention road sign B2a.svg
Circular White or yellow Red 0.9 m (large), 0.6 m (small) Stop written in black or dark blue inside red inverted triangle Vienna Convention road sign B2b-V1.svgVienna Convention road sign B2b-V3.svg
Priority road Diamond White Black 0.5 m (large), 0.35 m (small) Yellow or orange square Vienna Convention road sign B3-V1.svgVienna Convention road sign B3-V2.svg
End of priority road Diamond White Black 0.5 m (large), 0.35 m (small) Yellow or orange square with black or grey diagonal lines crossing the sign Vienna Convention road sign B4-V1.svg Vienna Convention road sign B4-V5.svg
Priority for oncoming traffic Circular White or yellow Red Unspecified Black arrow indicating direction with priority, red arrow indicating direction without Vienna Convention road sign B5-V1.svgVienna Convention road sign B5-V2.svg
Priority over oncoming traffic Rectangle Blue None Unspecified White arrow indicating direction with priority, red arrow indicating direction without Vienna Convention road sign B6.svg
Prohibitory signs
Standard prohibitory Circular White or yellow Red 0.6 m (large), 0.4 m (small) Varies; black or dark blue Vienna Convention road sign C3a-V1-1.svgVienna Convention road sign C3a-V1-3.svg
Parking prohibited Circular Blue Red 0.6 m (large), 0.2 m (small) None Vienna Convention road sign C18.svg
Circular White or yellow Red 0.6 m (large), 0.2 m (small) Initial letter or ideogram to denote parking; black or dark blue Vienna Convention road sign C18-V1.svgVienna Convention road sign C18-V3.svg
Stopping prohibited Circular Blue Red 0.6 m (large), 0.4 m (small) None Vienna Convention road sign C19.svg
End of prohibition Circular White or yellow None 0.6 m (large), 0.4 m (small) Black or grey diagonal line Vienna Convention road sign C17a-V1-1.svg
Mandatory signs
Standard mandatory Circular Blue None, white 0.6 m (large), 0.4 m (small), 0.3 m (very small) Varies, white Vienna Convention road sign D1a-V1.svg
Circular White or yellow Red 0.6 m (large), 0.4 m (small), 0.3 m (very small) Varies, black or dark blue Vienna Convention road sign D1b-V1-1.svg Vienna Convention road sign D1b-V1-3.svg
Special regulation signs
All signs Rectangular Blue Unspecified Unspecified Varies, white Vienna Convention road sign E17a-EA.svg
Light Unspecified Unspecified Varies, Black Vienna Convention road sign D10aa.svg
Information, facilities or service signs
All signs Unspecified Blue or green Unspecified Unspecified Varies, on white or yellow rectangle Vienna Convention road sign F2-V1.svg
Direction, position or indication signs
Informative signs Rectangular, sometimes with arrowhead Light Unspecified Unspecified Varies, dark CH-Hinweissignal-Wegweiser «Zeltplatz».svg
Dark Unspecified Unspecified Varies, light CH-Hinweissignal-Wegweiser für Hauptstrassen.svg
Motorways Rectangular Blue or green Unspecified Unspecified Varies, white Vienna Convention road sign E5a-V1.svg
Temporary Rectangular Yellow or orange Unspecified Unspecified Varies, black KC1 travaux.svg
Additional panels
All panels Unspecified White, blue or yellow Black, blue or red Unspecified Varies, black or dark blue Vienna Convention road sign H1-V1-1.svg
Black, red or dark blue White, blue or yellow Unspecified Varies, white, blue or yellow Vienna Convention road sign H1-V5-1.svg
Class of sign Shape Ground Border Size Symbol Examples

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 that do not apply at night, must be reflective enough to be seen in darkness with headlights from a distance.

Road markings

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 road markings shall be white or yellow.[3]

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 recognisable in most languages, such as "Stop" or "Taxi".

Traffic lights

The Convention specifies the colours for traffic lights and their meanings, and places and purposes lights may be used for, like so:

Type Shape Colour Position Meaning
Non-flashing Plain Traffic lights dark green.svg Green At intersection Proceed
Traffic lights dark yellow.svg Amber At intersection, level crossing, swing bridge, airport, fire station or ferry terminal Stop if possible
Traffic lights dark red.svg Red At intersection Stop
Traffic lights dark red-yellow.svg Red and amber At intersection Signal is about to change (usually to green)
Arrow pointing left Green At intersection Only traffic turning left may proceed
Arrow pointing right Green At intersection Only traffic turning right may proceed
Arrow pointing upwards Green At intersection Only traffic travelling straight ahead may proceed
Arrow pointing downwards Körfältssignal, rakt fram.svg Green Above lane Traffic may continue in lane
Cross (×) Körfältssignal, avstängd.svg Red Above lane Traffic may not enter lane (lane closed)
Arrow pointing diagonally downwards Körfältssignal, vänster.svg Amber or white Above lane Lane closes shortly ahead, change lane in the direction of the arrow
Flashing Plain Alternating flash red traffic light.gif Double Red (alternating) At level crossing, swing bridge, airport, fire station or ferry terminal Stop
Järnvägssignal, vitt.svg Lunar white At crossing Proceed
Single flashing yellow traffic light.gif Amber (flashing) Anywhere except intersection Proceed with caution
YellowFlashTrafficLight.gif Amber (flashing) At intersection The priority is determined by Vienna Convention road sign B3-V1.svg Priority Route or Vienna Convention road sign B1-V1.svg Yield signs or if none of the above regular right of way rule.

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.

Contracting parties

The convention has 68 state parties as of August 2016: Albania, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, Chile, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

The only countries in Europe that are not signatories to the Convention are Ireland, Andorra, Malta, the United Kingdom, and Liechtenstein. Iceland, Spain, and the Holy See are all signatories but have yet to ratify the Convention.

The only countries in Asia that are not signatories to the Convention are Bangladesh, Malaysia, Republic of China (Taiwan), People's Republic of China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Japan, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Armenia, Yemen, Oman, North Korea, and Afghanistan.

Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, South Korea, and Thailand are all signatories, but have yet to ratify the Convention.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2009-10-26. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
  2. ^ "1931 年道路信号統一条約" (in Japanese). Members.jcom.home.ne.jp. Archived from the original on 2012-12-19. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
  3. ^ Chapter 29 in the convention.

External links

  • Ratifications
  • Full text of convention
  • Consolidated text of convention including diagrams
  • Amendments adopted in 2003

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