The Government has announced the creation of a Roads Collision Investigation Branch (RCIB).  The aim of the RCIB is not to establish who is at fault, that is the role of the police investigation, but to look at what lessons can be learnt and applied to prevent similar collisions occurring in the future.  Whilst the exact extent of its powers are still being finalised, similar bodies for the Aviation, Rail, and Marine sectors have undoubtedly made a significant contribution to improving their safety records. 

The creation of RCIB sits very well with the concept of a Safe Systems approach to road safety.  The Safe Systems approach accepts that humans make mistakes and therefore any system that humans use needs to recognise this as being inevitable and needs to be designed to minimise the opportunity for an error to occur and prevent it being catastrophic when it does occur.  The Safe Systems approach has been used in vehicles for many years.  For example, many of the more modern safety systems in vehicles aim to ‘actively’ prevent a collision occurring by applying the brakes, while ‘passive’ systems aim to minimise injury when a collision does occur.  In Safe Systems speak, the active systems prevent the error and the passive systems look to prevent them becoming catastrophic if a collision does occur.

The RCIB role will be to consider how these concepts can be rolled out to the other pillars included within the Safe Systems approach which are described as:

  • Safe speed
  • Safe roads and roadsides
  • Safe road users
  • Post collision care.

If you want to know more about RCIB, click here. 

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