EU minimum safety requirements for tunnels ensure that they are adequate for the volume of traffic and have emergency exits to prevent tunnels from becoming death traps in the event of a crash.
Crashes can be very serious when they occur in tunnels, many of which are old and not designed for today’s high and increasing traffic volumes.
A number of serious crashes in major EU road tunnels in recent decades raised awareness of the specific risks associated with accidents in road tunnels. It demonstrated the need to require minimum standards for safety equipment and to clarify how safety management and operating procedures are organised for tunnels.
At EU level, Directive 2004/96/EC sets out minimum safety requirements for tunnels on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). These include measures to prevent crashes from happening in tunnels, and to mitigate the risks for tunnel users should an accident occur.
- EU Directive 2004/54 – Minimum safety requirements for tunnels in the trans-European road network (latest consolidated version)
- Reporting obligations
- Art 13(3) – Member State risk analysis practices
- Art 14(7) – Derogation requests for innovative techniques
- Proceedings of the Tunnel Committee established under Art 17
- Related legislation