A UK Road Collision Investigation Branch ‘should be established as an impartial investigator, independent from the existing judicial investigation process operated by the police’. That is one of 13 recommendations to come out of a new report commissioned by the RAC Foundation to support the work being carried out by the Government-funded Road Collision Investigation Project (RCIP) – which the Foundation is leading on.
Launched in 2018, the RCIP’s remit is to establish whether there is a business case for investing more resources into the investigation of road crashes, in a manner akin to that already in place for the rail, air and maritime sectors.
The new report, authored by Saul Jeavons and Adrian Runacres of The Transafe Network, provides an international review of road collision investigation approaches. The authors studied how countries as geographically, socially and economically diverse as Australia, Finland, India, Malaysia, Malta and the United States undertake post-collision analysis to learn wider lessons and help cut road deaths and injuries.
They conclude that a UK Road Collision Investigation Branch (RCIB) should be established as an impartial investigator with the power and resources to investigate “major incidents (i.e. of significant economic impact, as well as those involving injury and death)’ – and be given access to the scene of an incident as soon as possible after it occurs.
Among the other recommendations is that the RCIB should be allowed to question investigating police officers and undertake additional investigations of incidents that may have already been ‘closed’ from a police/judicial point of view.