The Government has launched a consultation on creating an autonomous vehicle crash investigation team. It comes as self-driving technologies become more prevalent.

Any new Road Collision Investigation Branch (RCIB) would learn lessons from road traffic collisions. It would operate much like the similar independent bodies that already exist for air, maritime and rail accidents.

Thematic investigations would take place probing specific incidents of concern. The idea is to establish the causes of collisions, making independent safety recommendations to further improve road safety.

Ministerial backing

Roads Minister Baroness Vere believes it “would play a huge role in this work by identifying the underlying causes”. It will provide “vital insight as we continue to modernise our road network”.

The Department for Transport (DfT) consultation on proposals to set up a Road Collision Investigation Branch (RCIB), is being launched now due to the huge developments which are taking place across the transport sector. These include the rollout of increasingly automated and electric vehicles (EVs).

Timely consultation

Director of the RAC Foundation Steve Gooding says “sustained road safety improvement has been hard to achieve over the past decade”.

Research by the RAC Foundation suggests more can be learnt to improve road safety. This makes the announcement “so important and so welcome”.

“We should be challenging ourselves on whether we are understanding all we can about the causes of road collisions and what could be done to prevent them”.

The consultation will run until December 9, 2021.