The Government has launched the country’s first-ever Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB). The idea is to reduce casualties and boost safety on the country’s roads.

A specialised team of inspectors will look at how and why incidents happen. Information gathered will then be used to provide insight into how new technologies, regulations and advice can be introduced. For example, the introduction and management self-driving vehicles on our roads.

Getting to work

The branch will investigate themes in the causes of collisions, as well as specific incidents of concern. It will then make independent safety recommendations to organisations such as Government and police forces. This can then be utilised to better shape the future of road safety policy.

“The UK may have some of the safest roads in the world, ” states Roads minister Baroness Vere. “Tragedies still happen and any injury or death on our road network is one too many.

“That’s why we’re establishing the road safety investigation branch, so we can boost safety for road-users even further and also bring safety measures in line with other modes of transport and the future of travel.”

Demand and design

Establishing the new branch follows a public consultation launched last year. This showed overwhelming support for its creation .

Currently, data and evidence is collated using in depth study programmes. These include the Collision Reporting and Sharing System (CRASH), Forensic Collision Investigation reports and Prevention of Future Death reports.

Government expects the Road Safety Investigation Brand to use this data alongside that from insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers, the emergency services and the NHS to deepen the body of evidence on incident causes and improve road safety interventions even further nationwide.

Positive trials

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “Over the past four years the Foundation has run the road collision investigation project with funding from Government and National Highways.

“Working with three police forces and many other experts we have demonstrated the strong case for a fresh way of investigating death and injury on the road network which is why we are delighted with this announcement.

“We look forward to working further with the Government to get the branch set up and make our roads safer still.”

Added resource

The branch will not identify blame or liability and so does not replace police investigation. It will instead draw on all the available evidence to make recommendations to improve road safety and mitigate or prevent similar incidents in the future.

The Department for Transport expects to include measures to enable the creation of the branch in the forthcoming Transport Bill.