The Philippines and the Vienna Convention on Road Signs

We take a look at the the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968 and how it might affect you in the .

Lack of Road Signs in the Philippines

If you drive in the Philippines you might have noticed how few road signs there are compared to other countries, how some road signs are just painted on a board often even just a tarpaulin is used. With the many advertising boards along the roads it is not easy to see the road signs. We take a look at how this might affect motorists legally.

Prohibited Road with no Road Sign to Warn the Driver

Another example is some vehicles are prohibited some types of roads, yet there are no road signs to warn the driver they are prohibited on that road. It seems like they expect the driver to know what classification every road in the Philippines comes under, a feat that is probably humanly impossible.

Philippines on Road Signs

The Philippines signed the agreement to be a contracting party to both the Vienna Convention on Road and the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.

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Both Conventions were ratified by Presidential Decree No. 207 (1973), thus adopting and making these two conventions as “part of the law of the .”

How the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals affects you

We have already established that the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968 is part of the law of the land in the Philippines.

So as it is part of the law of the land it affects every driver, rider and even pedestrians in the Philippines. Not only does is it full of rules you must obey it also gives you rights. A good example of this is given in this article in TopGear in which they claim you can you may contest or protest the issuance of the traffic ticket if a No Entry sign did not comply to the law.

Lets presume you drive a three-wheeled vehicle and you get pulled over by a on a road where they are banned. Unless there was a sign when or before you entered that road to warn you that your vehicle was prohibited, you could probably contest or protest the issuance of the traffic ticket. In your protest, you may argue that as there was no Prohibited Sign as mandated by the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968; as a result, you were not aware of the restriction on that road.

In Article 13 of the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968 makes this very clear. It also points out that the sign should be repeated after every intersection.

ARTICLE 13

Provisions applying generally to the signs described in Annex 1, sections C and D to this

Convention

1. Prohibitory, restrictive and mandatory signs shall be placed in the immediate vicinity of

the point where the obligation, restriction or prohibition begins and may be repeated if the

competent authorities consider it necessary. Nevertheless, if the competent authorities consider it

advisable for reasons of visibility or in order to give users advance warning, these signs may be

placed at a suitable distance in advance of the point where the obligation, restriction or prohibition

applies.

An additional panel H, 1 of Annex 1, section H shall be placed under signs set up in advance of the

point where the obligation, restriction or prohibition applies.

3. Prohibitory and restrictive signs shall apply as from the place they are displayed until the

point where a contrary sign is displayed, otherwise until the next intersection. If the prohibition or

restriction should continue to be applied after the intersection the sign shall be repeated in

accordance with provisions in domestic legislation.

Points of interest in the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968

The Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968 is very lengthy in total there are 226 pages of it. We have supplied a full copy of it below.

To make it easier we will publish some points of interest.

CONVENTION ON ROAD SIGNS AND SIGNALS

The Contracting Parties,

Recognizing that international uniformity of road signs, signals and symbols and of road

markings is necessary in order to facilitate international road traffic and to increase ,

Have agreed upon the following provisions:

The Philippines is a Contracting Party so it has agreed to the provisions in the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968.

Types of Road Signs

ARTICLE 2

Annexes to the Convention

The annexes to this Convention, namely:

Annex 1: Road signs;

Section A: Danger warning signs;

Section B: Priority signs;

Section C: Prohibitory or restrictive signs;

Section D: Mandatory signs;

Section E: Special regulation signs;

Section F: Information, facilities or service signs;

Section G: Direction, position or indication signs;

Section H: Additional panels;

This shows that the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968 has 8 categories that road sins fall under.

ARTICLE 3

Obligations of the Contracting Parties

1. (a) The Contracting Parties to this Convention accept the system of road signs, signals

and symbols and road markings described herein and undertake to adopt it as soon as possible. To

this end,

(i) Where this Convention prescribes a sign, symbol or marking for

signifying a certain rule or conveying certain information to road-users,

the Contracting Parties undertake, subject to the time-limits specified in

paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article, not to use any other sign, symbol or

marking for signifying that rule or conveying that information;

Here we can see that contracting parties are obligated to accept the and adopt the system of road signs as soon as possible. The Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals was ratified by Presidential Decree No. 207 in 1973 so at the time of writing they have had 45 years to adopt the system of road signs.

DANGER WARNING SIGNS

ARTICLE 9

1. Section A, subsection I of Annex 1 to this Convention indicates the models for danger

warning signs; Section A, subsection II indicates the symbols to be placed on these signs and gives

some instructions for their use. In conformity with Article 46, paragraph 2 of this Convention,

each State shall notify the Secretary-General whether it has selected Aa

or Ab

as the model for

danger warning signs.9

2. The number of danger warning signs shall not be increased unnecessarily, but such signs

shall be sited to give warning of possible road hazards which are difficult for a driver proceeding

with due caution to perceive in time.

3. Danger warning signs shall be placed at such distance from the danger point as will make

them most effective both by day and by night, having regard to road and traffic conditions,

including the normal speed of vehicles and the distance at which the sign is visible.

Number 3 is interesting, it is very common in the Philippines for warning sign for roadworks to be placed right where the road works start, yet the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals states “ Danger warning signs shall be placed at such distance from the danger point as will make

them most effective both by day and by night” in other words warning signs for roadworks should be placed before the roadworks to give drivers plenty of warning.

ARTICLE 13

Provisions applying generally to the signs described in Annex 1, sections C and D to this

Convention

1. Prohibitory, restrictive and mandatory signs shall be placed in the immediate vicinity of

the point where the obligation, restriction or prohibition begins and may be repeated if the

competent authorities consider it necessary. Nevertheless, if the competent authorities consider it

advisable for reasons of visibility or in order to give users advance warning, these signs may be

placed at a suitable distance in advance of the point where the obligation, restriction or prohibition

applies.

Prohibitory Road Signs Philippines

Article 13 will be of great interest to many of our readers. Take note of the wording here, it clearly states “Prohibitory, restrictive and mandatory signs shall be placed in the immediate vicinity of

the point where the obligation, restriction or prohibition begins” so you may be able to contest or protest the issuance of any traffic ticket you receive. In your protest, you may argue that there was no prohibited sign as mandated by the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968 ; as a result, you were not aware you were prohibited on that road.

Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968 in Full

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