MPs are calling for the creation of a road accident investigation body to help reduce the number of fatalities.
It’s thought that a new road collision investigation body would help ensure lessons are learned to reduce the chance of repeat incidents, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (Pacts) claims.
The development of driverless cars and the increasing use of automation in vehicles will add new challenges for investigators.
Thousands killed or injured
Over 25,000 people were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in the year ending September 2016, up 6% from the previous 12 months.
This far exceeds those involving rail, air and maritime transport. Yet these all have dedicated branches of the Department for Transport to probe accidents.
David Davies, decision-making director of Pacts, said road accident investigators would not look at every collision, but would focus on the most serious.
He said: “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. 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.”
Gary Rae, campaigns director for road safety charity Brake, said the investigation branch would enable the UK to be “at the forefront of global work in collision prevention”.
He said: “Only through in-depth investigation and considered solutions will we stem the deaths we see on our roads every day.”
AA president Edmund King said a body focused on road collisions would complement the “great work” already carried out by the police and research institutions.
“We have seen the advent of smart motorways without hard shoulders and we are getting connected cars, electric cars, semi-autonomous and ultimately driverless cars, and therefore the causes of collisions will be much more complex,” he warned.
“Trains, planes and automobiles should all have dedicated collision investigation teams.”
Date Published: March 31, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown