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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ARTICLE 12 1. Every driver approaching a fork, crossroad, road junction
or level-crossing shall take special precautions to avoid accidents.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.