Vehicle positioning is a key requirement for many safety applications. Active safety systems require precise vehicle positioning in order to assess the safety threats accurately, especially for those systems which are developed for warning/intervention in safety critical situations. When warning drivers of a local hazard (e.g. an accident site), accurate vehicle location information is important for warning the right driver groups at the right time. Global positioning system and digital maps have become major tools for vehicle positioning providing not only vehicle location information but also geometry preview of the road being used. Advances in wireless communication have made it possible for a vehicle to share its location information with other vehicles and traffic operation centres which greatly increases the opportunities to apply vehicle positioning technologies for improving road safety. This paper presents a state-of-the-art review of vehicle positioning requirements for safety applications and vehicle positioning technologies. The paper also examines key issues relating to current and potential future applications of vehicle positioning technologies for improving road safety.