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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety

Safety Ratings

Safety Ratings


Introduction | PDF



This summary presents an introduction to the safety rating systems in use internationally. Given the wide variety of systems currently in use, their different methodologies and the volume of valuable information which they provide, this summary seeks to provide a gateway to the websites which explain these systems in appropriate detail.

What are safety ratings?

Safety rating systems present impartial information on aspects of traffic system safety. Safety ratings in use today are objective tools for the assessment and improvement of aspects of the safety of vehicles, the road network, work-related road safety and international safety performance. Safety ratings in use either predict safety outcomes for given designs or provide a retrospective assessment based on crash data.

Who are they for?

The impartial and objective information provided by safety rating systems is designed for use by policymakers, employers, professionals and practitioners in the establishment and implementation of road safety strategies as well as fleet buyers, car buyers and road users.

Why use safety ratings?

The level of ambition associated with current European targets and safer system approaches and goals such as Sustainable Safety and Vision Zero requires greater attention than before to the provision of a safer network, safer vehicles, better emergency care systems and compliance of users with key safety rules as well as meaningful shared responsibility and partnerships on the part of system providers. Safety ratings today address such needs and provide a basis on which to assess both results that are desired as well as the changes needed to provide them. They can be used as road safety interventions, road safety policy and strategy monitoring tools and for setting specific intermediate or sub-targets for road safety strategies around which stakeholders can focus activity and resource.

Safety ratings in use?

A wide variety of safety rating systems are currently in use or under development providing an impartial means of assessing the relative performance of:

Effectiveness of safety ratings?

High quality data is a prerequisite for effective rating systems. Rating systems are most useful when the tests used in them are realistic; where the tests and analysis take account of possible factors which might bias the results; where the publication or website explains clearly what the particular rating means and where the results are disseminated very widely while, at the same time, being targeted at specific users.

Communicating results?

There are several issues regarding presentation of results.