The RAC Foundation has received £480,000 of Government funding to pilot new ways of investigating road crashes.
The funding will be used to enable a number of police forces to recruit additional staff to collect and collate collision data.
The data will then be analysed to identify and understand common themes and patterns that result in death and injury on the public highway.
The RAC Foundation says the insight provided by the collision data could then help shape future policy making.
The call for the introduction of a roads collision investigation branch was initiated at a conference organised by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) in March 2017.
PACTS used the conference to urge the Government to create a UK Road Collision Investigation Branch to boost efforts to reduce the number of collisions and casualties.
In December 2017, the RAC Foundation expressed support for the creation of an investigation branch – saying that ‘a fresh approach to crash investigation is needed to help bring down death and injury on Britain’s roads’.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “We are keen to seize the opportunity to work with the DfT, the police and others to explore the scope for learning more about the causes of the road crashes that continue to blight – and curtail – so many lives; in particular to establish the practicalities, costs and full benefits of tackling and pre-empting them more effectively.
“This project is aimed at testing whether there is value to be gained from taking a different, systematic, national approach to the analysis of road crash data, drawing on the best practice of the Accident Investigation Branches (AIBs) for rail, maritime and aviation.
“However, roads are very different to other modes – sadly the numbers involved mean that detailed investigation of every single crash on the road network would be impractical.
“The shape of each of the existing AIBs is tailored to the relevant sector, which tends to be an established industry with a ‘closed network’, whereas on roads we are dealing with millions of individual drivers making tens of millions of trips daily – so simply replicating any of those existing models will not work.”
The RAC Foundation pilot will run in three UK regions over a three-year period.