Improved Investigations

To a family, a road death has the same effect as a murder, and its investigation should be no less thorough.

If road crime was treated as real crime a road death investigation would be as extensive as a homicide investigation.

Investigation leads to justice, and a thorough investigation is the cornerstone to justice:

  • Criminal justice depends on it – Innocent until proven guilty means any deficiency in investigation results in law breaking drivers going undetected, allowing them to continue putting others at risk
  • Civil justice relies on it – Without the evidence gathered by police, innocent victims go uncompensated with financial loss added to their physical and emotional devastation
  • Road safety requires it – Injury prevention relies on comprehensive data and accurate problem analysis.  This is more than the collision report which is done at the start of an investigation
  • The bereaved and injured deserve it – They should be able to see that their suffering is not simply accepted as the price to pay for motorization
  • The wider public also need it – If they are to be persuaded to walk and cycle more

More effective investigations, with:

What RoadPeace wants

  • Nationally agreed standards of good practice
  • Trained collision investigators with national accreditation
  • Proper quality assurance, ensuring standards are monitored and maintained
  • Risk reduced through better analysis and design of evidence based countermeasures
  • Improvements in injury investigation as well as road death and life changing collision investigation

More transparent and accountable police, with:

  • Judicial outcomes of collision investigations published
  • Investigation procedures and budgets reported—this will help prevent unrealistic expectations
  • Collaboration with victims and campaigners
  • Surveys of victim satisfaction in collision investigation
  • Annual reviews of the effectiveness of collision investigation

Less trauma for victims, with:

  • Families kept informed of the investigation progress
  • Families invited to give feedback and able to see lessons learned

We help victims understand collision investigation

How RoadPeace is Helping

Supporting Victims

They will already be coping with the shock of the crash, and are unlikely to be familiar with the steps, roles, and their rights in collision investigation. We produce guides on collision investigation with checklists for victims to ease this pressure

We lobby for improved investigation every chance we can

Campaigning for justice

Over the years, Roadpeace has campaigned for improved investigations. This includes through working groups and consultations.

We make the case. From its start, RoadPeace has used the evidence collected from helping victims to shape its calls. This included the 150 case studies we compiled for the Independent Working Group set up by Victim Support in 1992. Most of the recommendations in the subsequent 1994 report Support for the families of road death victims focused on the police collision investigation. Transparency, accountability, priority and national standards were early calls. National standards were a key call for our Justice Campaign, launched in 1998.

RoadPeace launched a Collision Investigation campaign in June 2016. This started with a review of road death investigation, including from the victims’ perspective.

RoadPeace launched a Collision Investigation campaign in June 2016.


This started with a review of road death investigation, including from the victims’ perspective.

We surveyed the number of specialist (forensic) collision investigators. We compared the national guidance issued by the College of Policing compared to the previous guidance published by ACPO. We also compared the current guidance in England and Wales with that of Scotland.

Our suspicions were confirmed.  We found no reason to think that there was a national system in place which ensured thorough, impartial, effective and consistent road death investigation. We also warned that our findings with road death investigation implied a much worse situation for injury collision investigation where there are no specialists, no guidance and no training programmes.