Abstract Considerable research has been carried out into open roads to establish relationships between crashes and traffic flow, geometry of infrastructure and environmental factors, whereas crash-prediction models for road tunnels, have rarely been investigated. In addition different results have been sometimes obtained regarding the effects of traffic and geometry on crashes in road tunnels. However, most research has focused on tunnels where traffic and geometric conditions, as well as driving behaviour, differ from those in Italy. Thus, in this paper crash prediction-models that had not yet been proposed for Italian road tunnels have been developed. For the purpose, a 4-year monitoring period extending from 2006 to 2009 was considered. The tunnels investigated are single-tube ones with unidirectional traffic. The Bivariate Negative Binomial regression model, jointly applied to non-severe crashes (accidents involving material-damage only) and severe crashes (fatal and injury accidents only), was used to model the frequency of accident occurrence. The year effect on severe crashes was also analyzed by the Random Effects Binomial regression model and the Negative Multinomial regression model. Regression parameters were estimated by the Maximum Likelihood Method. The Cumulative Residual Method was used to test the adequacy of the regression model through the range of annual average daily traffic per lane. The candidate set of variables was: tunnel length (L), annual average daily traffic per lane (AADTL), percentage of trucks (%Tr), number of lanes (NL), and the presence of a sidewalk. Both for non-severe crashes and severe crashes, prediction-models showed that significant variables are: L, AADTL, %Tr, and NL. A significant year effect consisting in a systematic reduction of severe crashes over time was also detected. The analysis developed in this paper appears to be useful for many applications such as the estimation of accident reductions due to improvement in existing tunnels and/or to modifications of traffic control systems, as well as for the prediction of accidents when different tunnel design options are compared.