Road Traffic Convention,
with Annexes and Protocol, dated at Geneva September 19,
advised by the Senate of the United States of America August 9, 1950;
by the President of the United States of America August 17, 1950;
of the United States of America deposited with the United Nations
30, 1950; proclaimed by the President of the United States of America
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
occupied countries or territories, formulated at the United Nations
on Road and Motor Transport and dated at Geneva September 19, 1929,
open for signature from September 19, 1949 until December 31,
WHEREAS the said Convention was signed during that
period by the respective
plenipotentiaries of the United States of America, Austria, Belgium,
Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, India, Israel, Italy,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Sweden,
the Union of South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, and Yugoslavia, and the said related protocol was signed
that same period by the respective plenipotentiaries of the United
of America, Belgium, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, France,
Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines,
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
CONVENTION ON ROAD TRAFFIC
The Contracting States, desirous of promoting the development and
of international road traffic by establishing certain uniform rules,
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
international traffic under the conditions set out in this
2. No Contracting State shall be required to extend the benefit of
the provisions of this Convention to any motor vehicle or trailer, or
any driver having remained within its territory for a continuous period
exceeding one year.
ARTICLE 2 1. The annexes to this Convention shall be
as integral parts of the Convention; it being understood, however, that
any State may on signature or ratification of, or accession to, the
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
of the United Nations that it will be bound, as from the date of the
notification, by annexes 1 as excluded under the terms of paragraph 1
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
with a view of facilitating international road traffic by simplifying
police, health or other requirements will be regarded as being in
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
be chargeable to the importation of any motor vehicle admitted to
traffic may be required by any Contracting State. (b) A Contracting
shall accept for the purposes of this article the guarantee of an
established in its own territory affiliated to an international
which has issued a valid international customs pass for the motor
(such as a carnet de passages on douane).
3. For the fulfillment of the requirements provided for in this
the Contracting States will endeavor to keep open during the same hours
customs offices and posts next to each other on the same international
ARTICLE 4 1. For the purpose of this Convention
expressions shall have the meanings hereby assigned to them:
traffic" means any traffic which crosses at least one frontier; "Road"
means any way open to the public for the circulation of vehicles;
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
control of the same; "Motor vehicle" means any self-propelled vehicle
used for the transport of persons or goods upon a road, other than
running on rails or connected to electric conductors. Any State bound
annex 1 shall exclude from this definition cycles fitted with an
engine of the type described in that annex; "Articulated vehicle" means
any motor vehicle with a trailer having no front axle and so attached
part of the trailer is superimposed upon the motor vehicle and a
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"
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
definition cycles fitted with an auxiliary engine of the type described
in that annex; "Laden weight" of a vehicle means the weight of the
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
permissible by the competent authority of the country of registration
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
ARTICLE 5 This Convention is not to be taken as
carriage of persons for hire or reward or the carriage of goods other
the personal baggage of the occupants of the vehicle; it being
that these matters and all other matters not provided for in this
remain within the competence of domestic legislation, subject to the
of other relevant international conventions or agreements.
Chapter II RULES OF THE ROAD
ARTICLE 6 Each Contracting State shall take
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
ARTICLE 8 1. Every vehicle or combination of
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
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
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
every driver shall: (a) On two-lane carriageways intended for two-way
keep his vehicle in the lane appropriate to the direction in which he
traveling; (b) On carriageways with more than two lanes, keep his
in the lane nearest to the edge of the carriageway appropriate to the
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
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
to the direction in which they are traveling. In overtaking, a driver
pass on the left or the right of the overtaken vehicle or animal
to the rule observed in the country concerned. These rules shall not
apply in the case of tramcars, trains on roads, and certain mountain
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,
as close as practicable to the appropriate edge of the carriageway and
3. Drivers intending to overtake shall make sure that there is
room and sufficient visibility ahead to permit overtaking without
After overtaking they shall bring their vehicles back to the right or
hand side according to the rule observed in the country concerned, but
only after making sure that this will not inconvenience the vehicle,
or animal overtaken.
ARTICLE 12 1. Every driver approaching a fork,
junction or level-crossing shall take special precautions to avoid
2. Priority of passage may be accorded at intersections on certain
roads or sections of road. Such priority shall be marked by signs and
driver approaching such a road or section of road shall be bound to
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
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
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
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
the middle of the carriageway if he wishes to leave the road and turn
the other side, except as provided for in paragraph 2 of article
(e) In no case hamper the traffic coming from the opposite
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
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
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
ARTICLE 15 1. From nightfall and during the
night, or when atmospheric
conditions render it necessary, every vehicle or combination of
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
without sidecar, is provided with only one white light in front, this
be placed on the side nearest to traffic coming from the opposite
In countries where two white front lights are obligatory, such lights
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
the white light or lights in front or by the same device when the
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
to the front or a white light or a white reflector directed to the
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
by domestic regulations; (b) Cyclists shall proceed in signal file
circumstances so require and, except in special cases provided for in
regulations, shall never proceed more than two abreast on the
(c) Cyclists shall not be towed by vehicles; (d) The provisions of
4 (d) of article 12 shall not apply to cyclists where domestic
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
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
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
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
2. A registration certificate containing at least the serial number,
known as the registration number, the name or the trade mark of the
of the vehicle, the maker's identification or serial number, the date
first registration and the full name and permanent place of residence
the applicant for the said certificate shall be issued either by the
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
drawing one or more trailers the single trailer or the last trailer
display the registration number of the drawing vehicle or its own
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
the distinguishing sign of the place of registration of this vehicle.
sign shall indicate either a State or a territory which constitutes a
unit from the point of view of registration. In the case of a motor
drawing one or more trailers this sign shall also be displayed at the
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
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
permitted to travel on the roads of each Contracting State or
thereof shall be matters for domestic legislation. On certain roads
by States Parties to regional agreements or, in the absence of such
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
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
given proof of his competence, by the competent authority of another
State or subdivision thereof, or by an association duly empowered by
authority, to drive on its roads without further examination motor
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
where the domestic permit issued to him does not conform to the model
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
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
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
driver has committed a driving offense of such a nature as would entail
the forfeiture of his driving permit under the legislation and
of the Contracting State. In such an event, the Contracting State or
thereof withdrawing the use of the permit may withdraw and retain the
until the period of the withdrawal of use expires or until the holder
the territory of the Contracting State, whichever is the earlier, and
record such a withdrawal of use on the permit and communicate the name
and address of the driver to the authority which issued the
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
signed at Paris on 24 April 1926, or of the Convention on the
of Inter-American Automotive Traffic opened for signature at Washington
on 15 December 1943, and holding the documents required thereunder,
be considered as fulfilling the requirements of this article.
ARTICLE 25 The Contracting States undertake to
each other such information as will enable them to establish the
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
in a serious accident is registered.
Chapter VI PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO CYCLES IN
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
at a reasonable distance; (c) A white or yellow light in front and a
light or a red reflex reflector in the rear from nightfall and during
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
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
and Social Council may by resolution declare to be eligible. It shall
be open for accession on behalf of any Trust Territory of which the
Nations is the Administering Authority.
4. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of
with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
ARTICLE 28. 1. Any State may, at the time of
or accession, or at any time thereafter, declare, by notification
to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, that the provisions of
this Convention shall be applicable to all or any of this Convention
be applicable to all or any of the territories for the international
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
has not entered into force at that time, then upon the date of its
2. Each Contracting State, when circumstances permit, undertakes to
take as soon as possible the necessary steps in order to extend the
of this Convention to the territories for the international relations
which it is responsible, subject, where necessary for constitutional
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
cease to apply to any territory named in the notification and the
shall, after the expiration of one year from the date of the
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
or accession (March 26, 1952). This Convention shall enter into force
each State ratifying or acceding after that date on the thirtieth day
the deposit of its instrument of ratification or accession. The
of the United Nations shall notify each of the signatory or acceding
and every other State invited to attend the United Nations Conference
Road and Motor Transport of the date on which this Convention enters
ARTICLE 30 This Convention shall terminate and
replace, in relations
between the Contracting States, the International Convention relative
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
it to each Contracting State with a request that such State reply
four months stating whether it: (a) Desires that a conference be
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
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
is required: (a) By at least one-quarter of the Contracting States in
case of a proposed amendment to any part of the Convention other than
annexes; (b) By at least one-third of the Contracting States in the
of a proposed amendment to an annex other than annexes 1; (c) In the
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
to the Conference such States, other than Contracting States, invited
attend the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Transport or
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
paragraph 5 of this article.
3. Any amendment to this Convention which shall be adopted by a
majority vote of a conference shall be communicated to all Contracting
States for acceptance. Ninety days after its acceptance by two-thirds
the Contracting States each amendment to the Convention, except for
to annexes 1 shall enter into force for all the Contracting States
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
annexes 1 the majority shall be two-thirds of the States
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
to annexes 1 and 2, that the amendment is of such a nature that any
State which has made a declaration that it does not accept the
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
that they favor the acceptance of the amendment without a conference,
of their decision shall be communicated by the Secretary-General to all
the Contracting States. The amendment shall upon the expiration of
days from the date of such notification become effective as regards all
the Contracting States except those States which notify the
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
shall remain in force in respect of any Contracting State which has
a declaration or lodged an objection with respect to such an
7. A Contracting State which has made a declaration in accordance with
the provisions of paragraph 3 of this article, or has lodged an
in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 5 of this article to an
amendment, may withdraw such declaration or objection at any time by
addressed to the Secretary-General. The amendment shall be effective as
regards that State upon receipt of such notification by the
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
this period the Convention shall cease to be in force as regards the
States which denounces it.
ARTICLE 33 Any dispute between any two or more
concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention, which
the Parties are unable to settle by negotiation or by another mode of
may be referred by written application from any of the Contracting
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
the Charter of the United Nations and limited to the exigencies of the
situation which it considers necessary for its external or internal
ARTICLE 35 1. The Secretary-General shall, in
addition to the
notification provided for in article 29, paragraphs 1, 3 and 5 of
31 and article 32, notify the States referred to in paragraph 1 of
27 of the following: (a) Declarations by Contracting States that they
annex 1, annex 2, or both of them, from the application of the
in accordance with paragraph 1 of article 2; (b) Declarations by
States that they shall be bound by annex 1, annex 2, or both of them,
accordance with paragraph 2 of article 2; (c) Signatures, ratifications
and accessions in accordance with article 27; (d) Notifications with
to the territorial application of the Convention in accordance with
28; (e) Declarations whereby States accept amendments to the Convention
in accordance with paragraph 3 of article 31; (f) Objections to
to the Convention communicated by States to the Secretary-General in
with paragraph 5 of article 31; (g) The date of entry into force of
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
in accordance with paragraph 4 of article 31; (i) Withdrawals of
to an amendment in accordance with paragraph 7 of article 31; (j) The
of States bound by any amendment to the Convention; (k) Denunciations
the Convention in accordance with article 32; (l) Declarations that the
Convention has ceased to apply to a territory in accordance with
3 of article 28; (m) Notifications with respect to distinctive letters
made by States in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 3 of
2. The original of this Convention shall be deposited with the
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
and French languages, both texts authentic, this nineteenth day of
thousand nine hundred and forty-nine.
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