An Introductory Guide To Road Safety Audits

The need for road safety audits has grown considerably since the 1990's when the Design Standard HD 19/90 was incorporated into the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB).

Nowadays many Local Authorities are demanding an independent Road Safety Audit (RSA) as part of the Planning Application. You can also look for road safety audit via

What is an RSA?

An RSA is a formal process by which the potential for accidents to occur and the safety of new highway schemes are checked. The systematic approach used to carry out the RSA, are based on established safety principles.

The auditor's role is to assess the proposed scheme as an independent body, which does not know the proposal and so no preconceived ideas.

This is essential as the aim of the auditor is to ensure that the road will operate as safely as possible, thereby minimizing the potential for future accidents to occur and if they do, to reduce their severity.

Prevention is better than cure, and the safety audit considers all road users and especially vulnerable road users. Naturally, we also refer regularly to more detailed guidance on carrying out road safety audits.

Such guidance is included in DMRB within HD 19/94 "Road Safety Audit Standard" and Advice Note HA 42/94, which were written with the Trunk Road network in mind. Also, the Institution of Highways and Transportation (IHT) has prepared "Guidelines for the Safety Audit of Highways", dated 1996, which complements the advice in DMRB but does not supersede it.

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