The French Road Safety Observatory (ONISR) leads the collection and consolidation of accident data and publishes road safety analyses. Inter-ministerial since 1993, they advise the Inter-ministerial Director for Road Safety. They manage and promote the research and study programme funded by the Road Safety Directorate.

The Observatory supervises the entire processing chain and disseminates public data.

The first data come from the police forces. They are the ones who, at the scene of an accident, record the facts and information relating to the accident. Once the data have been logged by the police forces, they are transmitted to the local observatories in charge of checking and finalising the accident files in conjunction with road managers and the police forces (accident reports).  

CEREMA (the Centre for studies and expertise in the field of risks, environment, mobility and works) centralises the database, checks the formats and the filling in of the sections identifying each accident by municipality, organisation and date of the accident.

ODSRs (Road Safety Observatories at County level) deal with anomalies and consolidate the database.

The controlled and corrected information can then be used to publish regular statistical reports to the general public.

ONISR supervises the processing of special cases and also checks the consistency of the data with other services and sources, in particular quick reporting.

On 4 June 2013, statistical indicators produced by ONISR were certified for the first time by the French Public Statistics Authority. The renewal of the certification took place on 27 November 2019.

Every year, some raw data are published and made available to the general public. These data must be handled with great care and rigour as the results obtained may lead to misinterpretations due to lack of statistical representativeness or inadequacy of the query with the phenomenon wished to be monitored.

2018: launch of the first calls for research projects

The traditional Scientific and Technical Organisations within the Ministry of Transport, now formed by two public institutions, Cerema and Ifsttar, have been supporting road safety policy since the post-war period. Government support for these public institutions is expressed through their Subsidy for Public Service Expenses, within the framework of their Objective and Performance Contract with the Government.

However, road safety studies and research are not limited to this way of working. Public or public-private partnerships to encourage and guide research have been built over the years, such as Predit and the Road Safety Foundation described in the chapter on study and research strategy. To extend partnership working with Research bodies, the Road Safety Directorate lauched its first calls for projects in 2018, with the support of ONISR.