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.

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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.