When talking about vehicle containment systems, the first thing that comes to mind are safety barriers and parapets. These linear elements are installed on the edges of roads to prevent vehicles from leaving the road and causing serious accidents. Although these are the first that come to mind, there are also other types of vehicle containment systems, such as impact attenuators, transitions between systems, barrier terminals, removable barrier sections and protection systems. of motorcyclists.

All of these systems are regulated by different European regulations that establish the requirements that must be met to be classified in one of the categories contemplated by said regulations. In the case of transitions and barrier terminals, the reference standard is UNE-ENV 1317-4:2002 and in this article we want to talk to you in a little more detail about the changes that are to come.

This standard, which has been in force since April 30, 2002, has never been harmonized by UNE-EN 1317-5:2008+A2:2012. This means that any Transition or Terminal that meets the tests specified in said standard will be accepted, but will not have the CE marking. Therefore, this standard is voluntary and there is no clear impulse on the part of the administrations to require this type of products evaluated under the protection of this standard.

This situation gives rise to points on the State Highway Network that are not well resolved and that can cause serious accidents.

The need to modify this regulation

The European standardization committee “CEN/TC 226/WG 1 – Crash barriers, safety fences, guard rails and bridge parapets” is responsible for preparing regulations relating to the field of vehicle containment systems. The CTN 135 Road Signage Equipment Committee hangs directly from this committee. SC1 Safety Barriers, of which the Metalesa team is a member.

For years, work has been going on within TC226 to modify the UNE-ENV 1317-4:2002 regulations to somehow remove the vehicle containment systems it regulates from the regulatory block. However, to date this task had not been achieved successfully as it was a complex task.

Transitions and terminals, by definition, connect to other systems. A transition is a longitudinal section that joins two systems, such as barriers or parapets, using special pieces that guarantee a logical transition of rigidities. A barrier terminal is a point system, such as an impact attenuator, that connects to a barrier or parapet. Therefore, the evaluation of a barrier terminal involves evaluating the connection between the barrier or parapet and the terminal, which is equivalent to evaluating a transition between systems, even if one of them is not a barrier or parapet.

When it comes to harmonizing these systems under the same standard, there is a big step that must be overcome: there are a multitude of barriers, parapets and terminals on the market that, as we have said before, comply with the regulations but do not have CE marking, which which makes it tremendously complex to establish clear rules to evaluate them and not limit free competition.

New regulations on transitions and barrier terminals on the way

Once the variability in this type of products is understood, it is understood how complex it is to regulate them, however, last June the deadline for voting in TC226 ended. This vote examined the publication of reports and technical specifications that establish the evaluation methods of each of these systems separately and facilitate administrations in establishing criteria to demand the different benefits of the systems, definitively separating them from the marking. EC.

The new regulations of these systems would be as follows:

  • Barrier terminals are regulated by FprCEN/TS 1317-7. It is a technical specification, so every 3 years it is decided whether it becomes a standard to be harmonized and be able to have the CE marking.
  • Transitions are regulated by FprCEN/TR 1317-10. In this case it is a Technical Report, that is, it does not have to be reviewed at any time, being a declaration of intentions regarding the fact that the transitions will not have CE marking.

With this change in the paradigm of the regulations of Barrier Terminals and Transitions, administrations no longer have to demand a CE marking that could not be obtained, since UNE-ENV 1317-4:2002 is repealed.

Finally, it should be noted that now it is the turn of the administrations to pick up the gauntlet and establish what tests or requirements are required for this type of products to be installed on the roads they regulate. Some administrations, such as the French one, have already championed this change and have requirements aligned with the new regulations.