Research & reports

Title: A Highways Accident Investigation Branch What Lessons Can Be Learnt from the Rail Industry and the Cullen Inquiry?

Organisation: RAC Foundation
Date uploaded: 26th June 2018
Date published/launched: April 2018

This report suggests that while there is a strong argument for some form of highways accident investigation branch, its implementation will not be straightforward due to current policy limitations on both cost and time.

The report draws parallels with the railway network, where a dedicated and independent accident investigation branch determines the circumstances and causes of incidents and recommends measures to reduce the risk of them happening again.

It also points out that the roads remain the only mode (of transport in the UK) where there is still no independent, impartial body established to learn lessons and prevent future death and injury.

The report suggests that as more technology - including speed control and telecoms systems - indicates a clear move towards a systems-based approach within the highway network, there is a greater need for a highways accident investigation branch (HAIB).

The report says that the move to a more blame-free approach to crash investigation – to operate alongside existing police inquiries – would also offer benefits long before new technology becomes the norm.

However, the report acknowledges that the form a HAIB would take needs further discussion and the option chosen must be pragmatic in terms of the time and the cost involved, as compared with what is realistically available.

The report concludes: “Despite the clear lessons to be learnt from the experience of the rail industry, the implementation of an AIB for the highways may not be as straightforward as it is bound to run up against current policy limitations on both cost and time (post-Brexit).”

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