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Charity backs calls for creation of road casualty investigation branch

Charity backs calls for creation of road casualty investigation branch

Road safety charity Brake has backed calls for the establishment of an independent road casualty investigation branch.

The call came from Richard Cuerden, chief scientist at TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) and a Brake trustee, and other speakers at a London conference ‘Collision Investigation - How Can We Learn More?’ hosted by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).  

Brake applauded PACTS and the conference for highlighting what it called “a vital issue at a pertinent time, when a decline in road casualties has stalled”.  

The charity has long-called for the establishment of a road casualty investigation branch in the UK and is supportive of the immediate funding of the branch by government, as an independent body similar to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “Britain, with its reputation for road safety, has an opportunity, through the creation of this branch, to be at the forefront of global work in collision prevention through academic-led investigation into causes and countermeasures to stop deaths and serious injuries on Britain’s roads. This is the foundation of an intelligent approach to road collision reduction, at a time when, globally, the spotlight is on the unacceptable extent of road casualties and deaths.

“Highways England is aiming for zero deaths and serious injuries on our strategic road network by 2040: only through in-depth investigation and considered solutions will we stem the deaths we see on our roads every day.  

“Funding for detailed investigation has, to date, been largely through short-term research grants that have come and gone, and projects led by different institutions, leading to information about casualties that is insightful but selective in scope and fragmented in its leadership. 

“To build intelligent data sets, and be responsive to developments in road and vehicle engineering and changes in the ways people use roads, a permanent road collision investigation branch is essential. I urge the government to urgently create such a branch, to help drive down casualties in Britain, and offer valuable insight for countries around the globe.”