Articles Tagged ‘road collision investigation - Brake the road safety charity’

Brake comments as UK road safety progress stagnates

News from Brake
Tuesday, 19 June 2018
 
The UK is one of the EU countries making the slowest progress on reducing road deaths, according to a new report by the European Transport Safety Council [1].
 
The number of deaths on UK roads fell by just 6.4% between 2010 and 2017, contributing little towards the collective EU target of a 50% reduction in road deaths by 2020. Whilst the UK does have a strong road safety record, the only other EU countries making slower progress on road safety are Sweden, The Netherlands and Malta.
 
The report also highlights how the UK is one of the few EU countries to see the number of serious Injuries from crashes on the roads increase since 2010, with a 5.8% rise.
 
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
 
 
“We take for granted that the UK has some of the safest roads in the EU but this report should act as a wake-up call to the Government. All road crashes are preventable tragedies and even one death or injury on the road is one too many. Progress on road safety in the UK has stagnated in recent years and urgent action is required to remedy this.
 
“The Government’s recent move to improve road collision investigation was long-awaited and much welcomed. It is vital that the strengthened roads collision investigation provides evidence which directly leads to improvements in policy. Only through in-depth investigation, at a national level, can solutions be found to stem the needless deaths on the roads every day.
 
“Brake also welcomed the EU Commission’s announcement of a new target for a 50% reduction in EU road deaths and serious injuries between 2020 and 2030 [2]. We urge the UK to follow the EU’s lead and implement national road safety targets, to reignite progress on road safety and strive towards a vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”
 
ENDS
 
Notes to editors:
 
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments on announcement of new Road Safety Statement

News from Brake
Wednesday, 13 June 2018
 
The Department for Transport has today (Wednesday 13 June) announced plans for a refreshed road safety statement, with a 2 year action plan to address 4 priority user groups – young people, rural road users, motorcyclists and older vulnerable users [1]. This comes alongside publication of a progress report on the 2015 Road Safety Statement and the announcement of the successful bids for the Safer Roads Fund [2].
 
The announcements come in a week where the Prime Minister announced 2 new road safety projects: £350,000 innovation competition to provide police forces with the next generation of mobile breathalyser equipment, enabling swifter and more timely read-outs on drink-driving tests; and a £480,000 partnership between police forces and the RAC Foundation to trial an innovative approach to road collision investigation, carrying out more in-depth, qualitative analysis of the underlying causes of road safety incidents [3].
 
Commenting on the announcements, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
“The recent raft in road safety announcements is much welcomed and shows that the Government is taking the UK’s stalled progress in road safety seriously. Progress has undoubtedly been made on the road safety actions laid by the Government in 2015, however, we urge the new Road Safety Statement to be much, much bolder in its ambition.”
 
“The Government’s focus on the young and elderly, rural roads and motorcyclists is welcome but the fact is we already have proven policy solutions to many of these challenges. Young driver crashes will be significantly reduced by introducing a Graduated Driver Licensing System. The elderly’s fitness to drive can be monitored through improved communication between doctors and the DVLA and compulsory eyesight tests. And speed limits on rural roads are far too high and must be reduced. We urge the Government to introduce these proven policies as a matter of urgency, ensuring that needless and preventable deaths on our roads are eliminated.”
 
“The Government’s move to improve road collision investigation is long-awaited and much welcomed. However, it is vital that strengthened roads collision investigation provides evidence which actually influences policy change. Data for the sake of data is no use, it must lead to improvements in policy. We owe it to the thousands of people who are  affected by the tragedy of road death every year to ensure that their loved one’s deaths have not been in vain and that we learn from the mistakes of the past.”
 
[ENDS]
 
 
Notes to editors:
 
 
 
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Charity backs calls for creation of road casualty investigation branch

News from Brake

22 March 2017 
news@brake.org.uk

Today (22 March), the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is hosting a conference, ‘Collision investigation – how can we learn more?’, in London at which speakers, including TRL chief scientist and Brake trustee Richard Cuerden, will call for the establishment of an independent road casualty investigation branch.

Brake applauds PACTS and the conference for highlighting 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 wholly supportive of the immediate funding of this 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.”

ENDS

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties. 

Know it & Solve it

Campaigning for improved road collision investigation

car crash investigationThis campaign calls for government to establish an independent Road Collision Investigation Branch and set demanding casualty reduction targets. To get to zero deaths and serious injuries, we need to know it, and solve it. 

We know that when drivers don't follow the Brake Pledge deaths and injuries can happen: most casualties involve driver mistakes or intentional law-breaking. However, understanding in depth, and collating, the details of individual tragedies and the circumstances that led to them, is vital work. It would enable identification of the most effective and urgent solutions to prevent future deaths and injuries, for example through improved 'safe systems' including design of roads and vehicles that prevent and mitigate collisions. 

Yet while there are agencies that do this kind of investigation following rail, maritime and aviation disasters, there is no independent agency in the UK equipped or tasked with investigating road deaths and injuries, despite the much higher numbers of casualties on roads. 

What are we calling for?

Through Know it & Solve it, Brake is calling for:

  • the establishment of an independent agency (a Road Collision Investigation Branch) to provide the evidence today to stop tomorrow's road casualties.
  • the setting of challenging road safety targets at a national level to drive government action.

Why now?

Here are six major reasons for establishing a Road Collision Investigation Branch right now. 

1 Britain has committed itself to addressing the causes of deaths and injuries in its Road Safety Statement

The Government's British Road Safety Statement, commits to a "safe systems" approach to reducing road deaths and injuries. This means making improvements to our road infrastructure, our vehicles, and vehicle speeds to mitigate the chance of death and injury. But without detailed investigation of collisions, it is impossible to know which, out of many possible, countermeasures are likely to save most lives, nor monitor the effectiveness of implemented countermeasures. 

2 Britain has set itself "vision zero" targets for its strategic road network

Highways England has committed to eradicate deaths and serious injuries from its strategic road network (our network of trunk roads and motorways) by 2040. This "vision zero" approach is increasingly popular worldwide, as governments and road and city authorities recognise that no death or serious injury on roads is acceptable. We need to know what to do, and do it now. If road deaths don't begin to decline, by 2040 more than 41,000 more people will have died on Britain's roads, with many more injured. 

3 Britain's decline in deaths and serious injuries has stalled: we need to maintain our position as a world leader in road safety

Britain has a global reputation for reducing road casualties, but since 2010 the number of people killed and seriously injured has not continued to decline. We need to understand why, and address those causes. This strategic approach is the intelligent approach for a country trying to lead the way in tackling a global epidemic. 

4 Britain has the expertise to lead the way in road collision investigation 

Highly detailed collision investigations have been undertaken intermittently in recent years by British academics as part of commendable research programmes, resulting in detailed and insightful data sets. At present, this includes the Road Accident In-depth Study (RAIDS) being undertaken by the UK's transport research agency TRL on behalf of the Department for Transport. However, such studies are often limited in scope (don't study all deaths and injuries) and limited in duration (funding for such research comes and goes). We need to harness expertise and knowledge within a permanent agency; it's a case of "use it or lose it". 

5 We are moving towards an automated and connected world of road transport

As vehicles and roads become increasingly automated and connected, it's more important than ever to investigate crashes and their changing causation. 

6 We do it for rail, aviation, and sea disasters: why not road?

Road crashes cause vastly more deaths in the UK than other transport disasters. For the past nine years, for example, there have been no passenger deaths on our railways. Yet other modes of transport have independent agencies to investigate deaths and injuries and make recommendations to government regarding actions that should be taken to prevent future deaths and injuries. This includes the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch.  

The RAIB and MAIB are statutory branches, established within acts of parliament within the past 25 years (Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, Merchant Shipping Act 1995). The AAIB has been operating for more than 100 years having been established in 1912. 

 

Such an agency would be cost effective; anticipated savings in reduced deaths and serious injuries would outweigh the relatively nominal costs of running such an agency. Such an agency could: 

  1. identify detailed causation of deaths and injuries on Britain’s road network
  2. identify and make recommendations regarding effective and cost effective countermeasures to stop deaths and injuries
  3. support Britain’s police in pursuance of excellence in their forensic investigation of crashes
  4. develop standards and expertise in collision investigation, data recording and analysis that can assist and unify investigations in the UK and, for comparison purposes, abroad

How are road crashes investigated at the moment?

Information about the perceived causes of road crashes is recorded by police at the time of collisions, for criminal prosecution purposes and to inform statistics collated and published by the Department for Transport. This information mainly provides basic data including, for example, modal choice of victims, age of victims, time of day, etc. There is additional data available from hospitals relating to presentation of injuries. Collectively, however, this information is not adequate to investigate and determine the most effective countermeasures to tackle road casualties. 

Take action

Campaign news 

'So their deaths aren't in vain' - a blog post by Mary Williams, 28/08/17

 

End notes

[1] Department for Transport, Working together to build a safer road system, British Road Safety Statement, December 2015

[2] Department for Transport, Working together to build a safer road system, British Road Safety Statement, December 2015

[3] RAIDS, TRL

[4] ORR, Rail Safety Statistics, Annual statistical release 2015-16

[5] Rail Accident Investigation Branch  

[6] Air Accidents Investigation Branch

[7] Maritime Accident Investigation Branch