New ‘Road Safety Investigation Branch’ Launched

New ‘Road Safety Investigation Branch’ Launched

The government has officially launched the brand-new Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB).

It will be set up as an independent body to investigate incidents on the roads in the UK, and its remit will also include advising on ways to improve road safety and reduce both the number of incidents and the number of casualties.

The idea is for the RSIB to have a similar function to the Air, Marine and Rail Accident Investigation branches that currently operate in the UK. However, there is one crucial difference in the fact that the RSIB will not send investigators to crash scenes.

Those investigations will continue to be conducted by local police forces, but the RSIB will then pick up the investigation once any reports have been provided to build a more national picture that’s currently missing.

Why Is The Road Safety Investigation Branch Important?

The RSIB will aim to provide national context to what is currently a locally split set of data.

When incidents occur on the road, it’s down to the local police and authorities to investigate in the first instance. But once that initial investigation has been concluded, there hasn’t been a system in place to put those incidents into context nationally.

The RSIB will bridge that gap between data held locally across various local authorities and build a picture across the UK’s roads, including motorways, A-roads, B-roads and significant routes.

The creation of a national investigations branch was one of the key outcomes of the Roads Policing Review which highlighted a lack of national oversight on road safety as a significant issue that needed to be addressed.

In comparison to other modes of transport, the road safety infrastructure in the UK has lagged behind. The Air Accident Investigations Branch has been in operation for over 100 years, while the Marine branch has been going since 1989 and the Rail investigation branch was set up in 2005.

What Will the RSIB Be Focusing On?

The RSIB won’t have any input in deciding liability in relation to individual road traffic incidents but will instead focus on factors outside of the local police’s remit.

Some of the main goals will be to gain insight into the causes and contributing factors that lead to incidents in an attempt to learn from and prevent further incidents of that nature from occurring in the future or at least reduce the likelihood that they do.

With new technology being adopted on the roads and trials of autonomous vehicles getting underway, there’s more access to data than ever before.

The idea is to combine that data with the existing data from local police and national Highways and information from insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers and medical organisations to build an overview of the situation.

What concerns do you think the Road Safety Investigations Branch should be addressing? Let us know in the comments below.