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 in to the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB). Nowaday's many Local Authorities are demanding an independent Road Safety Audit (RSA) as part of the Planning Application.

What is a RSA?

A 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. You can visit to know more about road safety audit.

The auditor's role is to assess the proposed scheme as an independent body, which has no knowledge of 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.

As Road Safety Auditors we are guided by two safety principles. These being:

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. In addition, the Institution of Highways and Transportation (IHT) have prepared "Guidelines for the Safety Audit of Highways", dated 1996, which complements the advice in DMRB but does not supersede it.

There are Four Safety Audit Stages

DMRB and IHT Guidelines recommend the following Stages:-

Feasibility (no requirement to carry out);

Stage 1 – Preliminary/draft plans;

Stage 2 – Detailed design;

Stage 3 – On Opening (recommended just prior to opening); and

Monitoring – Recommended at 1 and 3 years after opening.

What is RSA Good Practice?

A good practitioner will follow a code of good practice. In the first instance, it is good practice for the road safety audit to be carried out totally independently of the road scheme designer.

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