Government edges towards establishing a roads collision investigation branch

09.29 | 11 June 2018 | | 6 comments

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.



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    Thank you, Hugh, for your consoling thoughts. On that basis I live on a high!

    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Console yourself Nigel that no one (to date) has actually disagreed with your contention. It’s a better response than I typically get for comments along the same lines!

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    As I reflect on my last comments it really is quite staggering that people who are supposed to be the front line in road safety seemingly have yet to cotton on to these basic and highly obvious facts. No wonder that serious money is being spent where it could probably be more usefully employed elsewhere.

    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

    So why is it that those who take the trouble to learn the skills to reduce their vulnerability to crashes are actually far less likely to be involved in a crash? It’s a life skill AND a life-saving skill, but little promoted in real terms. If it were it might at least save the government around, say, half a million pounds for a start.

    In my view most people get involved in crashes principally because of inattentiveness or stupidity, or both. It’s not rocket science to view the average person’s attitude behind the wheel let alone the behaviour which is generally seen on the roads today, and it certainly doesn’t need another half a million of public money (that’s your’s and mine) quid to find out the blatantly obvious.

    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (9) | Disagree (1)

    To me a serious road traffic accident wants to investigated as soon as possible after the occurrence and not many hours later or the following day when certain personnel are available. It’s about the time of day, the amount of sunlight, indeed where was the sunlight. Tt’s the state of the road, after a misty night was dew on the road but dry several hours later. Was there a morning mist which disappears within hours?

    Let’s let the police specialists do their job but ask more questions on other matters like when did the participants last eat, what did they eat, were their any reactions, when did they last sleep, have they any ongoing or recent medical conditions and are they taking any medications etc. etc., matters that are not on Stats 19 forms.

    Matters that perhaps previously have not been asked as they have never been considered to be of any consequence relating to the actual happening but could end up resulting in the finding of a cause or significant factor relating to the possible causation for the incident

    Agree (7) | Disagree (1)

    If the ‘data’ referred to for analysis and collation is Stats 19, I wouldn’t bother. Much better to analyse the data that came from vehicles’ onboard air-bag modules (that will record what the vehicle did up to the moment of collision), plus dashcam footage, CCTV and dare I say it, You Tube clips – actual everyday, real-life collisions, not ticked boxes on a form.

    As far as individual crashes go, I have to say the recent BBC Wales TV series ‘The Crash Detectives’ showed that local Police seemed to be quite capable of carrying out thorough investigations themselves.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (5) | Disagree (2)

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