The UK government has announced the forthcoming creation of an independent organisation that will investigate road crashes and make recommendations to government on road safety policy.
The “Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB)” will recruit a specialist team of crash investigators that will look at why incidents happen and “provide insight into how new technologies…can be rolled out.” New legislation is required for the new agency to go ahead, and this could be delayed as a consequence of the recent resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
ETSC has recommended independent crash investigation as a key element in road safety policy for many years. The Dutch Safety Board, a founding member of ETSC, carries out independent investigations of safety issues, including in the transport and road sectors. In 2019 the organisation published a report encompassing a number of investigations into crashes involving advanced driver assistance systems. Finland carries out an in-depth crash investigation of every fatal road collision, but this policy is not widespread in Europe.
In the United States, the National Transport Safety Board has carried out a number of investigations into crashes involving driver assistance systems and automated vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now requires carmakers to provide data on crashes involving such systems.
ETSC says a European Union agency to investigate road crashes is essential to the safe roll-out of assisted driving systems and automated vehicles across the EU. The EU has agencies responsible for Air, Maritime and Rail safety but no agency for road safety despite the much larger numbers of deaths and injuries caused by road collisions.