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New Road Collision investigation team confirmed

The team will investigate collisions on all UK roads - including smart motorway crashes.

The Road Safety Investigation Branch is being launched by the Department for Transport to investigate road collisions and make safety recommendations to organisations including the DfT and police forces. 

Recruitment for inspectors is currently underway - they will be tasked with looking for background themes and patterns that link collisions in order to make recommendations for future prevention. They will also look into trends relating to new technologies such as self-driving vehicles, e-scooters and electric cars. 

The DfT have previously said that they expect the new body will take data, information and investigatory reports from forces. 

The investigations will not replace police inquiries as they are not responsible for identifying blame or liability. 

Since 2012, there has been no significant reduction in the number of people killed in crashes until the coronavirus lockdowns. 

Provisional figures show that there were 1,560 fatalities on Britain’s roads last year. 

Meanwhile, a recent RAC poll of 2,652 UK drivers showed that 62 per cent believe that hard shoulders should be reintroduced across the motorway network. 

National Highways, however, insists smart motorways are “our safest roads” in terms of the number of serious or fatal casualties. 

Independent bodies already exist for air, maritime and rail accidents. 

Roads minister Baroness Vere said: “The UK may have some of the safest roads in the world, but tragedies still happen and any injury or death on our road network is one too many.

“That’s why we’re establishing the Road Safety Investigation Branch, so we can boost safety for road users even further and also bring safety measures in line with other modes of transport and the future of travel.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The branch will need to be selective in looking into incidents that shed light on recurring issues, such as the concerns about collisions on motorways where the hard shoulder has been turned into a running lane.

“The job of investigators will be to look for background themes and patterns that link a number of collisions and then recommend actions that could prevent them repeating.

“This is about the whole road transport system. The new branch could decide to look at anything, from the impact of pressure on commercial drivers to meet deadlines to the way we use smart motorways and all things in between.

“The key is that the branch will be independent and will be looking to learn lessons, not point the finger of blame.”

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