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Baroness Newlove requests update on proposed new body to improve road safety

Victims’ Commissioner writes to the Secretary of State for Transport on the establishment of a Road Safety Investigation Branch.

The Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper MP, to ask for a progress update on the creation of a Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB).

Announced by the Government on 29 June 2022, the RSIB would investigate how and why road collisions happen and make recommendations to organisations, such as the government and the police, to prevent future incidents.

Last year, 1,700 people died in the UK as a result of road collisions and a further 23,000 sustained serious injuries. Many were the subject of a criminal investigation and resulted in criminal charges being brought against the culpable party.

However, the Branch has yet to be launched and interested parties have been left in the dark.

The initiative was initially welcomed by road safety groups but following conversations with these bodies, Baroness Newlove said: “they have heard nothing more since that time”.

The introduction of a RSIB would bring road safety into line with similar independent bodies that already exist for air, maritime and rail collisions.

In the letter, the Victims Commissioner set out her asks to the Secretary of State for Transport, requesting more detail on when the Branch will be launched, what plans are there to ensure that road safety groups are being kept appraised of the work of the Branch, and how will these groups be able to feed in their views?

Baroness Newlove said of victims of road collisions: “The personal, emotional, psychological, social, and economic impact of these events is profound, far reaching and everlasting for many road victims.”

The letter from the Victims’ Commissioner follows a written question, on similar lines, submitted by Labour MP Gill Furniss to Department for Transport in March this year. Roads Minister, Richard Holden MP, answered, saying: “The Government intends to bring forward measures to enable the creation of a Road Safety Investigation Branch as soon as Parliamentary time allows.”

This article will be updated when a response from the Secretary of State for Transport is received.