Multilateral Road Traffic Convention,
with Annexes and Protocol, dated at Geneva September 19, 1949; ratification advised by the Senate of the United States of America August 9, 1950; ratified by the President of the United States of America August 17, 1950; ratification of the United States of America deposited with the United Nations August 30, 1950; proclaimed by the President of the United States of America April 16, 1952; entered into force March 26, 1952.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
WHEREAS the Convention on Road Traffic and a related protocol concerning occupied countries or territories, formulated at the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Transport and dated at Geneva September 19, 1929, were open for signature from September 19, 1949 until December 31, 1949;
WHEREAS the said Convention was signed during that period by the respective plenipotentiaries of the United States of America, Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, India, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, the Union of South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Yugoslavia, and the said related protocol was signed during that same period by the respective plenipotentiaries of the United States of America, Belgium, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, the Union of South Africa, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
WHEREAS the texts of the said Convention and related protocol, in the English and French languages, as certified by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, are word for word as follows:
UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON ROAD AND MOTOR TRANSPORT
CONVENTION ON ROAD TRAFFIC
The Contracting States, desirous of promoting the development and safety of international road traffic by establishing certain uniform rules, Have agreed upon the following provisions:
Chapter I GENERAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE 1 1. While reserving its jurisdiction over the use of its own roads, each Contracting State agrees to the use of its roads for international traffic under the conditions set out in this Convention.
2. No Contracting State shall be required to extend the benefit of the provisions of this Convention to any motor vehicle or trailer, or to any driver having remained within its territory for a continuous period exceeding one year.
ARTICLE 2 1. The annexes to this Convention shall be considered as integral parts of the Convention; it being understood, however, that any State may on signature or ratification of, or accession to, the Convention, or at any time thereafter, by declaration exclude annexes 1 and 2 from its application of the Convention.
2. Any Contracting State may at any time give notice to the Secretary-General of the United Nations that it will be bound, as from the date of the said notification, by annexes 1 as excluded under the terms of paragraph 1 of this article.
ARTICLE 3 1. Measures which all the Contracting States or certain of them may have agreed, or shall in the future agree, to put into effect with a view of facilitating international road traffic by simplifying customs, police, health or other requirements will be regarded as being in conformity with the object of this Convention.
2. (a) A bond or other form of security guaranteeing payment of any import duties and import taxes which would, in the absence of such security, be chargeable to the importation of any motor vehicle admitted to international traffic may be required by any Contracting State. (b) A Contracting State shall accept for the purposes of this article the guarantee of an organization established in its own territory affiliated to an international association which has issued a valid international customs pass for the motor vehicle (such as a carnet de passages on douane).
3. For the fulfillment of the requirements provided for in this Convention the Contracting States will endeavor to keep open during the same hours customs offices and posts next to each other on the same international road.
ARTICLE 4 1. For the purpose of this Convention the following expressions shall have the meanings hereby assigned to them: "International traffic" means any traffic which crosses at least one frontier; "Road" means any way open to the public for the circulation of vehicles; "Carriageway" means that portion of a road normally used by vehicular traffic; "Lane" means any one f the parts into which the carriageway is divisible, each sufficient in width for one moving line of vehicles; "Driver" means any person who drives a vehicle, including cycles, or guides draught, pack or saddle animals or herds of flocks on a road, or who is in actual physical control of the same; "Motor vehicle" means any self-propelled vehicle normally used for the transport of persons or goods upon a road, other than vehicles running on rails or connected to electric conductors. Any State bound by annex 1 shall exclude from this definition cycles fitted with an auxiliary engine of the type described in that annex; "Articulated vehicle" means any motor vehicle with a trailer having no front axle and so attached that part of the trailer is superimposed upon the motor vehicle and a substantial part of the weight of the trailer and of its load is borne by the motor vehicle. Such a trailer shall be called a "semi-trailer"; "Trailer" means any vehicle designed to be drawn by a motor vehicle; "Cycle" means any cycle not self-propelled. Any State bound by annex 1 shall include in this definition cycles fitted with an auxiliary engine of the type described in that annex; "Laden weight" of a vehicle means the weight of the vehicle and its load when the vehicle is stationary and ready for the road, and shall include the weight of the driver and of any other persons carried for the time being; "Maximum load" means the weight of the load declared permissible by the competent authority of the country of registration of the vehicle; "Permissible maximum weight" of a vehicle means the weight of the vehicle and its maximum load when the vehicle is ready for the road.
ARTICLE 5 This Convention is not to be taken as authorizing the carriage of persons for hire or reward or the carriage of goods other than the personal baggage of the occupants of the vehicle; it being understood that these matters and all other matters not provided for in this Convention remain within the competence of domestic legislation, subject to the application of other relevant international conventions or agreements.
Chapter II RULES OF THE ROAD
ARTICLE 6 Each Contracting State shall take appropriate measures to ensure the observance of the rules set out in this chapter.
ARTICLE 7 Every driver, pedestrian or other road user shall conduct himself in such a way as not to endanger or obstruct traffic; he shall avoid all behavior that might cause damage to persons, or public or private property.
ARTICLE 8 1. Every vehicle or combination of vehicles proceeding as a unit shall have a driver.
2. Draught, pack or saddle animals shall have a driver, and cattle shall be accompanied, except in special areas which shall be marked at the points of entry.
3. Convoys of vehicles and animals shall have the number of drivers prescribed by domestic regulations.
4. Convoys shall, if necessary, be divided into section of moderate length, and be sufficiently spaced out for the convenience of traffic. This provision does not apply to regions where migration of nomads occurs.
5. Drivers shall at all times be able to control their vehicles or guide their animals. when approaching other road users, they shall take such precautions as may be required for the safety of the latter.
ARTICLE 9 1. All vehicular traffic proceeding in the same direction on any road shall keep to the same side of the road, which shall be uniform in each country for all roads. Domestic regulations concerning one-way traffic shall not be affected.
2. As a general rule and whenever the provisions of article 7 so require, every driver shall: (a) On two-lane carriageways intended for two-way traffic, keep his vehicle in the lane appropriate to the direction in which he is traveling; (b) On carriageways with more than two lanes, keep his vehicle in the lane nearest to the edge of the carriageway appropriate to the direction in which he is traveling.
3. Animals shall be kept as near as possible to the edge of the road in accordance with domestic regulations.
ARTICLE 10 The driver of a vehicle shall at all times have its speed under control and shall drive in a reasonable and prudent manner. He shall slow down or stop whenever circumstances so require, and particularly when visibility is not good.
ARTICLE 11 1. Drivers when meeting or being overtaken shall keep as close as practicable to the edge of the carriageway on the side appropriate to the direction in which they are traveling. In overtaking, a driver shall pass on the left or the right of the overtaken vehicle or animal according to the rule observed in the country concerned. These rules shall not necessarily apply in the case of tramcars, trains on roads, and certain mountain roads.
2. On the approach of any vehicle or accompanied animal, drivers shall: (a) When meeting, leave sufficient space for the vehicle or accompanied animal coming from the opposite direction; (b) When being overtaken, keep as close as practicable to the appropriate edge of the carriageway and not accelerate.
3. Drivers intending to overtake shall make sure that there is sufficient room and sufficient visibility ahead to permit overtaking without danger. After overtaking they shall bring their vehicles back to the right or left hand side according to the rule observed in the country concerned, but only after making sure that this will not inconvenience the vehicle, pedestrian or animal overtaken.
ARTICLE 12 1. Every driver approaching a fork, crossroad, road junction or level-crossing shall take special precautions to avoid accidents.
2. Priority of passage may be accorded at intersections on certain roads or sections of road. Such priority shall be marked by signs and every driver approaching such a road or section of road shall be bound to yield the right of way to drivers traveling along it.
3. The provisions of annex 2 regarding the priority of passage at intersections not covered by paragraph 2 of this article shall be applied by the States bound by the said annex. 4. Every driver before starting to turn into a road shall: (a) Make sure that he can do so without danger to other road users; (b) Give adequate notice of his intention t turn; (c) Move over as far as practicable to the edge of the carriageway on the side appropriate to the direction in which he is traveling if he wishes to turn off the road on that side; (d) Move as near as practicable towards the middle of the carriageway if he wishes to leave the road and turn to the other side, except as provided for in paragraph 2 of article 16; (e) In no case hamper the traffic coming from the opposite direction.
ARTICLE 13 1. Stationary vehicles or animals shall be kept off the carriageway if feasible, or, if not, as close as practicable to the edge of the carriageway. Drivers shall not leave vehicles or animals until they have taken all necessary precautions to avoid an accident.
2. Vehicles an animals shall not be left waiting where they are likely to cause danger or obstruction, and in particular at or near a road intersection, a bend or the top of a hill.
ARTICLE 14 All necessary precautions shall be taken to ensure that the load of a vehicle shall not be a cause of damage or danger.
ARTICLE 15 1. From nightfall and during the night, or when atmospheric conditions render it necessary, every vehicle or combination of vehicles on a road shall show at least one white light in front and at least one red light in the rear. When a vehicle, other than a cycle or a motor-cycle without sidecar, is provided with only one white light in front, this shall be placed on the side nearest to traffic coming from the opposite direction. In countries where two white front lights are obligatory, such lights shall be placed one on the right and one on the left of the vehicle. The red light may be produced either by a device distinct from that which produces the white light or lights in front or by the same device when the vehicle is short enough and so arranged as to permit this.
2. In no case shall a vehicle have a red light or a red reflector directed to the front or a white light or a white reflector directed to the rear. This provision shall not apply to a white or yellow reversing light in cases where the domestic legislation of the country of registration of the vehicle permits such lights.
3. Lights and reflex reflectors shall be such as to ensure that the vehicle is clearly indicated to other road users.
4. Any Contracting State or subdivision thereof may, provided that all measures are taken to guarantee normal conditions of safety, exempt from certain provisions of this article: (a) Vehicles used for special purposes or under special conditions; (b) Vehicles of special shape and kind; (c) Stationary vehicles on adequately lighted roads.
ARTICLE 16 1. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to trolley-buses. 2. (a) Cyclists shall use cycle tracks where there is an obligation to do so indicated by an appropriate sign, or where such obligation is imposed by domestic regulations; (b) Cyclists shall proceed in signal file where circumstances so require and, except in special cases provided for in domestic regulations, shall never proceed more than two abreast on the carriageway; (c) Cyclists shall not be towed by vehicles; (d) The provisions of paragraph 4 (d) of article 12 shall not apply to cyclists where domestic regulations provide otherwise.
Chapter III SIGNS AND SIGNALS
ARTICLE 17 1. With a view to ensuring a homogeneous system, the road signs and signals adopted in each Contracting State shall, as far as possible, be the only ones to be placed on the roads of that State. Should it be necessary to introduce any new sign, the shape, color and type of symbol employed shall conform with the system in use in that State.
2. The number of approved signs shall be limited to such as may be strictly necessary. They shall be place only at points where they are essential.
3. The danger signs shall be placed at a sufficient distance from the object indicated to give road users adequate warning.
4. The affixing to an approved sign of any notice not related to the purpose of such sign and liable to obscure it or to interfere with its character shall be prohibited.
5. All boards and notices which might be confused with the approved signs or make them more difficult to read shall be prohibited.
Chapter IV PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAILERS
IN INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC
ARTICLE 18 1. In order to be entitled to the benefits of this Convention, a motor vehicle shall be registered by a Contracting State or subdivision thereof in the manner prescribed by its legislation.
2. A registration certificate containing at least the serial number, known as the registration number, the name or the trade mark of the maker of the vehicle, the maker's identification or serial number, the date of first registration and the full name and permanent place of residence of the applicant for the said certificate shall be issued either by the competent authority or by an association duly empowered to do so.
3. This certificate shall be accepted by all Contracting States as prima facie evidence of the information entered thereon.
ARTICLE 19 1. Every motor vehicle shall display at least at the back on a special plate or on the vehicle itself, a registration number issued or allotted by the competent authority. In the case of a motor vehicle drawing one or more trailers the single trailer or the last trailer shall display the registration number of the drawing vehicle or its own registered number.
2. The composition of the registration number and the manner in which it is displayed shall be as set out in annex 3.
ARTICLE 20 1. Every motor vehicle shall in addition to the registration number display at the back, inscribed on a plate or on the vehicle itself, the distinguishing sign of the place of registration of this vehicle. This sign shall indicate either a State or a territory which constitutes a distinct unit from the point of view of registration. In the case of a motor vehicle drawing one or more trailers this sign shall also be displayed at the back of the single trailer or of the last trailer.
2. The composition of the distinguishing sign and the manner in which it is displayed shall be as set out in annex 4.
ARTICLE 21 Every motor vehicle and trailer shall carry the identification marks set out in annex 5 .
ARTICLE 22 1. Every motor vehicle and trailer shall be in good working order and in such safe mechanical condition as not to endanger the driver, other occupants of the vehicle or any person upon the road, or cause damage to public or private property.
2. In addition, every motor vehicle, or trailer, and its equipment shall conform to the provisions of annex 6 and the driver of every motor vehicle shall observe the rules set out therein.
3. The provisions of this article shall apply to trolley-buses.
ARTICLE 23 1. The maximum dimensions and weights of vehicles permitted to travel on the roads of each Contracting State or subdivision thereof shall be matters for domestic legislation. On certain roads designated by States Parties to regional agreements or, in the absence of such agreements, by a Contracting State, the permissible maximum dimensions and weights shall be those set out in annex 7.
2. The provisions of this article shall apply to trolley-buses.
Chapter V DRIVERS OF MOTOR VEHICLES IN INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC
ARTICLE 24 1. Each Contracting State shall allow any driver admitted to its territory who fulfills the conditions which are set out in annex 8 and who holds a valid driving permit issued to him, after he has given proof of his competence, by the competent authority of another Contracting State or subdivision thereof, or by an association duly empowered by such authority, to drive on its roads without further examination motor vehicles of the category or categories defined in annexes 9 and 10 for which the permit has been issued.
2. A Contracting State may however require that any driver admitted to its territory shall carry an international driving permit conforming to the model contained in annex 10, especially in the case of a driver coming from a country where a domestic driving permit is not required or where the domestic permit issued to him does not conform to the model contained in annex 9.
3. The international driving permit shall, after the driver has given proof of his competence, be delivered by the competent authority of a Contracting State or subdivision thereof, or by a duly authorized association, and sealed or stamped by such authority or association. The holder shall be entitled to drive in all Contracting States without further examination motor vehicles coming within the categories for which the permit has been issued.
4. The right to use the domestic as well as the international driving permit may be refused if it is evident that the conditions of issue are no longer fulfilled.
5. A Contracting State or a subdivision thereof may withdraw from the driver the right to use either of the above-mentioned permits only if the driver has committed a driving offense of such a nature as would entail the forfeiture of his driving permit under the legislation and regulations of the Contracting State. In such an event, the Contracting State or subdivision thereof withdrawing the use of the permit may withdraw and retain the permit until the period of the withdrawal of use expires or until the holder leaves the territory of the Contracting State, whichever is the earlier, and may record such a withdrawal of use on the permit and communicate the name and address of the driver to the authority which issued the permit.
6. During a period of five years beginning with the entry into force of this Convention, any driver admitted to international traffic under the provisions of the International Convention relative to Motor Traffic signed at Paris on 24 April 1926, or of the Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Automotive Traffic opened for signature at Washington on 15 December 1943, and holding the documents required thereunder, shall be considered as fulfilling the requirements of this article.
ARTICLE 25 The Contracting States undertake to communicate to each other such information as will enable them to establish the identity of persons holding domestic or international driving permits when they are liable to proceedings for a driving offense. They further undertake to make known the information required to establish the identity of the owner or the person in whose name a foreign vehicle which has been involved in a serious accident is registered.
Chapter VI PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO CYCLES IN INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC
ARTICLE 26 Every cycle shall be equipped with: (a) At least one efficient brake; (b) An audible warning device consisting of a bell, to the exclusion of any other audible warning device, capable of being heard at a reasonable distance; (c) A white or yellow light in front and a red light or a red reflex reflector in the rear from nightfall and during the night or when atmospheric conditions render it necessary.
Chapter VII FINAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE 27 1. This Convention shall be open, until 31 December 1949, for signature by all States Members of the United Nations and by every State invited to attend the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Transport held at Geneva in 1949.
2. This Convention shall be ratified and the instruments of ratification deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
3. From 1 January 1950, this Convention shall be open for accession by those of the States referred to in paragraph 1 of this article which have not signed this Convention and by any other State which the Economic and Social Council may by resolution declare to be eligible. It shall also be open for accession on behalf of any Trust Territory of which the United Nations is the Administering Authority.
4. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
ARTICLE 28. 1. Any State may, at the time of signature, ratification or accession, or at any time thereafter, declare, by notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, that the provisions of this Convention shall be applicable to all or any of this Convention will be applicable to all or any of the territories for the international relations of which it is responsible. These provisions shall become applicable in the territories named in the notification thirty days after the date of receipt of such notification by the Secretary-General or, if the Convention has not entered into force at that time, then upon the date of its entry into force.
2. Each Contracting State, when circumstances permit, undertakes to take as soon as possible the necessary steps in order to extend the application of this Convention to the territories for the international relations of which it is responsible, subject, where necessary for constitutional reasons, to the consent of the governments of such territories.
3. Any State which has made a declaration under paragraph 1 of this article applying this Convention to any territory for the international relations of which it is responsible may at any time thereafter declare by notification given to the Secretary-General that the Convention shall cease to apply to any territory named in the notification and the Convention shall, after the expiration of one year from the date of the notification, cease to apply to such territory.
ARTICLE 29 This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit of the fifth instrument of ratification or accession (March 26, 1952). This Convention shall enter into force for each State ratifying or acceding after that date on the thirtieth day after the deposit of its instrument of ratification or accession. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall notify each of the signatory or acceding States and every other State invited to attend the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Transport of the date on which this Convention enters into force.
ARTICLE 30 This Convention shall terminate and replace, in relations between the Contracting States, the International Convention relative to Motor Traffic and the International Convention relative to Road Traffic signed at Paris on 24 April 1926, and the Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Automotive Traffic opened for signature at Washington on 15 December 1943.
ARTICLE 31 1. Any amendment to this Convention may be proposed by any Contracting State. The text of such proposed amendment shall be communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations who shall transmit it to each Contracting State with a request that such State reply within four months stating whether it: (a) Desires that a conference be convened to consider the proposed amendment; or (b) Favors the acceptance of the proposed amendment without a conference; or (c) Favors the rejection of the proposed amendment without a conference. The proposed amendment shall also be transmitted by the Secretary-General to all States, other than Contracting States, invited to attend the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Traffic.
2. The Secretary-General shall convene a conference of the Contracting States to consider the proposed amendment, if the convening of a conference is required: (a) By at least one-quarter of the Contracting States in the case of a proposed amendment to any part of the Convention other than the annexes; (b) By at least one-third of the Contracting States in the case of a proposed amendment to an annex other than annexes 1; (c) In the cases of annexes 1 by at least one-third of the States bound by the annex to which an amendment has been proposed. The Secretary-General shall invite to the Conference such States, other than Contracting States, invited to attend the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Transport or whose participation would, in the opinion of the Economic and Social Council, be desirable. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply in cases where an amendment to the Convention has been adopted in accordance with paragraph 5 of this article.
3. Any amendment to this Convention which shall be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of a conference shall be communicated to all Contracting States for acceptance. Ninety days after its acceptance by two-thirds of the Contracting States each amendment to the Convention, except for those to annexes 1 shall enter into force for all the Contracting States except those which, before it enters into force, make a declaration that they do not adopt the amendment. For the entry into force of any amendment to annexes 1 the majority shall be two-thirds of the States bound by the amended annex.
4. The Conference may by a two-thirds majority vote determine at the time of the adoption of an amendment to this Convention, except for those to annexes 1 and 2 that the amendment is of such a nature that any Contracting State which has made a declaration that it does not accept the amendment and which then does not accept the amendment within a period of twelve months after the amendment enters into force shall, upon the expiration of this period, cease to be a party to the Convention.
5. In the event of a two-thirds majority of the Contracting States informing the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 1 (b) of this article that they favor the acceptance of the amendment without a conference, notification of their decision shall be communicated by the Secretary-General to all the Contracting States. The amendment shall upon the expiration of ninety days from the date of such notification become effective as regards all the Contracting States except those States which notify the Secretary-General that they object to such an amendment within that period.
6. As regards amendments to annexes 1 and 2, and any amendment not within the scope of paragraph 4 of this article, the existing provisions shall remain in force in respect of any Contracting State which has made a declaration or lodged an objection with respect to such an amendment.
7. A Contracting State which has made a declaration in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 3 of this article, or has lodged an objection in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 5 of this article to an amendment, may withdraw such declaration or objection at any time by notification addressed to the Secretary-General. The amendment shall be effective as regards that State upon receipt of such notification by the Secretary-General.
ARTICLE 32 This Convention may be denounced by means of one year's notice given to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall notify each signatory or acceding State thereof. After the expiration of this period the Convention shall cease to be in force as regards the Contracting States which denounces it.
ARTICLE 33 Any dispute between any two or more Contracting States concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention, which the Parties are unable to settle by negotiation or by another mode of settlement, may be referred by written application from any of the Contracting States concerned to the International Court of Justice for decision.
ARTICLE 34 Nothing in this Convention shall be deemed to prevent a Contracting State from taking action compatible with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and limited to the exigencies of the situation which it considers necessary for its external or internal security.
ARTICLE 35 1. The Secretary-General shall, in addition to the notification provided for in article 29, paragraphs 1, 3 and 5 of article 31 and article 32, notify the States referred to in paragraph 1 of article 27 of the following: (a) Declarations by Contracting States that they exclude annex 1, annex 2, or both of them, from the application of the Convention in accordance with paragraph 1 of article 2; (b) Declarations by Contracting States that they shall be bound by annex 1, annex 2 or both of them, in accordance with paragraph 2 of article 2; (c) Signatures, ratifications and accessions in accordance with article 27; (d) Notifications with regard to the territorial application of the Convention in accordance with article 28; (e) Declarations whereby States accept amendments to the Convention in accordance with paragraph 3 of article 31; (f) Objections to amendments to the Convention communicated by States to the Secretary-General in accordance with paragraph 5 of article 31; (g) The date of entry into force of amendments to the Convention in accordance with paragraphs 3 and 5 of article 31; (h) The date on which a State has ceased to be a Party to the Convention, in accordance with paragraph 4 of article 31; (i) Withdrawals of objections to an amendment in accordance with paragraph 7 of article 31; (j) The list of States bound by any amendment to the Convention; (k) Denunciations of the Convention in accordance with article 32; (l) Declarations that the Convention has ceased to apply to a territory in accordance with paragraph 3 of article 28; (m) Notifications with respect to distinctive letters made by States in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 3 of annex 4.
2. The original of this Convention shall be deposited with the Secretary-General who will transmit certified copies thereof to the States referred to in paragraph 1 of article 27.
3. The Secretary-General is authorized to register this Convention upon its entry into force.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned representatives, after having communicated their full powers, found to be in good and due form, have signed this Convention. DONE at Geneva, in a single copy, in the English and French languages, both texts authentic, this nineteenth day of September,one thousand nine hundred and forty-nine.