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IRU road safety


Safer roads, safer people

Safety drives all aspects of IRU's work. Road safety is essential to the well-being of people and societies, and vital for economic growth and prosperity. For decades, IRU has worked to make commercial road transport safer for everyone on and around our roads.

The challenge

Road accidents affect drivers and passengers, but also vulnerable pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. Total road traffic deaths number over 1.2 million annually, with the highest fatality rates in lower-income countries. Road accidents are the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 29. There is global consensus to reduce the carnage, with the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety and Agenda for Sustainable Development aiming to halve deaths and injuries by 2030.

Accidents are caused by many factors, including human behaviour – both drivers and other road users, vehicle standards and technology, infrastructure and road traffic systems, and emergency service response. Making our roads safer requires a comprehensive approach that covers all causes of accidents and commercial road transport has a key role to play in this.


IRU helps develop standards for commercial vehicles and how they are used for passengers and cargo. We train professional drivers and managers on safety, raise awareness and promote the sharing of best practice amongst commercial operators, working with a wide range of partners on innovative technologies and processes.

The cost of training drivers can be recouped by fewer crashes, along with lower fuel consumption and less vehicle maintenance.

Developing standards

IRU advocates for international standards that improve safety, working with the United Nations, international organisations and government authorities on both formal and informal standards. Commercial transport operators run trucks, buses, coaches and taxis every day across the globe. IRU brings their voice into negotiations: proposing, drafting and vetting standards. This ensures that robust and practical benchmarks are developed, in particular through IRU’s technical member groups including Commissions on Road Safety, Technical Affairs, Legal Affairs and expert working party on Transporting Dangerous Goods.

IRU also collaborates with partners on research and studies into the causes of accidents and how they can be prevented. Once developed, IRU takes a leading role in bringing standards to life by working with governments, associations and transport operators.

Accidents involving commercial vehicles are caused by human error in 80-90% of cases.

Training Professionals

Most road accidents are caused by human error. Training helps drivers meet high standards and makes our roads safer. With a network of more than 65 training institutes in more than 45 countries, the IRU Academy trains and certifies thousands of commercial drivers and transport operators every year. The Academy also runs awareness raising campaigns on key issues and train-the-trainer programmes to boost training capacity in the sector.

Amongst a wide range of courses with a focus on safety, the Academy’s Crash Prevention Programme trains on road safety best practice for professional drivers. The Road Safety at Work on-line course for managers, developed with Cranfield University and the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport, is the first digital course for managing fleet safety, covering both passenger and goods transport.

The Academy also offers courses on transporting dangerous goods, driving and rest time management and safe loading and unloading, as well as mobile course modules on safety for taxi drivers.

Raising awareness

In many cases, road accidents are predictable and preventable. Raising awareness about the cause of accidents, on abiding by and using standards correctly, and in exchanging best practice, are an important part of a holistic approach to road safety. IRU continuously runs campaigns and develops awareness materials, covering a wide range of safety issues for goods and passenger transport, for member associations, commercial operators and partners.


IRU guides, checklists and campaigns 
  • Safety checklists for truck, bus, coach and taxi drivers
  • Instructional guides and videos for safe driving, transporting dangerous goods, and goods transport security
  • Helping commercial drivers find safe parking and road side facilities, promoting strict adherence to driving and rest time rules, through IRU’s TRANSPark app
  • Collaborative projects on vehicle technology, digitisation and automated in-vehicle safety mechanisms, that alert emergency services to accidents
  • Exchanging best practice and promote safety innovation amongst bus and coach operators through IRU’s SmartMove campaign
  • Championing taxis who meet safety requirements on driver and vehicle certification through IRU’s UpTop campaign
  • Recognising excellence with industry awards



Alexandre petit - GSK

“It is very important to open the discussion around this important topic – which is safety – and to open collaboration with service providers, technology suppliers”

Alexandre Petit

Global Logistics, GSK