A new agency set up to manage roads will have to conduct safety audits every three to five years, according to a legal notice published on Tuesday.

Infrastructure Malta, which officially came into being on Tuesday, is bound to undertake safety inspections of all arterial and distributor roads, to identify safety-related features and to prevent accidents.

The agency has also been given the remit to take remedial action at accident blackspots, with the collection of data in a timely fashion being a key factor in the process.

The legal notice obliges the agency to rank areas with high concentrations of accidents “at least every three years”, and those with high priority will have to be evaluated by expert teams through site visits.

Agency bound to inspect, identify safety-related features, prevent accidents

Action will then be taken according to the “highest benefit-cost” ratio, it says.

The legal notice goes beyond the sheer number of accidents and looks at their wide-ranging impact. The Transport Authority is, in fact, being asked to calculate the “average social cost” of a fatality and a severe accident, updating them every five years.

The new rules mandate a full road safety assessment at the initial planning stage of any major infrastructural project, defined as the construction of a new road or a substantial modification to an existing one that affects traffic flow. However, the obligation continues throughout the project and after its completion.

A safety audit will need to be carried out once the project is completed, prior to it being opened to traffic, and approximately a year later.

There were 3,837 road accidents in the second quarter of this year, which was a drop of six per cent, compared to the same period in 2017. A total of 470 victims (-15 per cent) were involved.

Twenty-eight passengers, 22 pedestrians or others and two cyclists suffered grievous injuries, and 102 passengers, 36 pedestrians or others and six cyclists were slightly or insignificantly injured.

Four drivers – including two motorcyclists – three passengers, a pedestrian and a cyclist succumbed to their injuries. The victims were seven males and two females.


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