The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is calling on the Government to create a UK Road Collision Investigation Branch to boost efforts to reduce the number of road collisions and casualties.
In a press release issued today (22 March) to coincide with its annual conference, titled ‘Collision investigation: how can we learn more?’, PACTS is seeking an amendment to the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill to pave the way for the new body.
The road safety charity Brake has applauded PACTS for highlighting ‘a vital issue at a pertinent time’, when the decline in road casualties has stalled.
Taking place in Westminster today, the PACTS’ conference will put the spotlight on road traffic investigations, and how the road safety sector can learn more from them.
Speakers will outline the case for improvements to current collision investigation systems, including the new challenges presented by driverless cars and increasing degrees of automation.
David Davies, decision-making director at PACTS, says the DfT already has dedicated accident investigation branches for air, rail and maritime – but not for road accidents.
He said: “The UK carries out some excellent collision investigation but it is fragmented and inconsistent.
“We need to learn from air and rail, harness the new technical opportunities, and bring together the efforts of researchers, police, coroners, local authorities and others more effectively. Other countries, such as the USA and Sweden, have such investigation bodies.
“It would not look at every collision but would focus on the most serious and those where lessons for preventing repeats seemed most likely. This is the approach of other investigation bodies.
“It would be about learning and would support, not replace, the crucial work of police collision investigators who are looking to see if there are grounds for prosecution.”
Brake says it has long-called for the establishment of a road casualty investigation branch in the UK and is wholly supportive of the immediate funding of this branch by Government,
Gary Rae, campaigns director, said: “Britain, with its reputation for road safety, has an opportunity, through the creation of this branch, to be at the forefront of global work in collision prevention through academic-led investigation into causes and countermeasures to stop deaths and serious injuries on Britain’s roads.
“This is the foundation of an intelligent approach to road collision reduction, at a time when, globally, the spotlight is on the unacceptable extent of road casualties and deaths.”
FOOTNOTE: the RSGB editorial team will be reporting live from the PACTS conference throughout the day once the conference gets underway at 9.30am.