ETSC CALLS FOR THE EU TO MANDATE INDEPENDENT MARITIME AND RAIL ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION AND TO SET UP EU ACCIDENT AND INCIDENT DATABASES
Two new reports published today by ETSC call on the EU to introduce the same mandatory independent accident investigation requirements for maritime and rail transport, as are in place in aviation and to improve the level of information available on EU transport crashes. The reports are being circulated to transport policymakers today which also marks the first day of the European Parliament's discussion of a Commission proposal on air incident reporting.
Sven-Erik Sigfridsson, Deputy Director of the Swedish Accident Investigation Board who chaired an ETSC expert group of Europe's leading transport accident investigation specialists said:
"Effective accident and incident investigation makes a positive, and long lasting, contribution to the improvement of transport safety. Binding EU legislation is needed urgently to ensure it is independent of the regulatory body, judiciary or operational regime in the rail and maritime sectors. EU action is also needed to ensure accident investigation findings are made public; that a timely response is made to safety recommendations and that the lessons learned from accident investigations and the safety recommendations that follow are shared freely between Member States, through centralised European databases."
Matthijs Koornstra, Chairman of ETSC's Transport Accident Statistics Working Party said:
"EU accident and casualty databases covering all the transport modes are needed urgently to describe the current state of transport safety across the EU; to monitor common transport policies and to help define priorities. In view of the scale of road deaths a co-ordinated independent European road accident investigation strategy should be developed with new systematic in-depth injury and accident causation databases established."
A summary of recommendations from the ETSC reports Transport accident and incident investigation in the EU and EU transport accident and incident databases: Current status and future needs is given below. The Executive Summaries and reports are available on ETSC's website: www.etsc.be
Contact: ETSC secretariat - + 32 (0) 2 230 4106
SUMMARY OF ETSC RECOMMENDATIONS ON TRANSPORT ACCIDENT AND INCIDENT INVESTIGATION AND DATABASES
- Effective accident and incident investigation makes a positive, and long lasting, contribution to the improvement of transport safety.
- Binding EU legislation is needed to ensure that accident investigation bodies for the maritime and rail sectors should be totally independent of the regulatory body, judiciary and operational regime, as is already the case for civil aviation.
- All accident investigation reports should be published and made public without restriction.
- The lessons learned from accident investigations and the safety recommendations that follow should be shared freely between Member States, through centralised European databases.
- Procedures should be established by the EU and Member States to ensure a timely response to safety recommendations, to monitor the progress of the implementation of safety recommendations, including actions taken and the effectiveness of such actions.
- In view of the large numbers of road deaths across the EU, the application of independent accident investigation techniques to representative samples of road crashes is particularly important. A co-ordinated independent European road accident investigation strategy should be developed with new systematic in-depth injury and accident causation data systems.
- EU financial support for in-depth accident investigation studies should be conditional on those conducting and managing them not having a stake in the financial consequences of the study.
- Event recorders should be fitted progressively to all vehicles transporting passengers and goods with procedures laid down to establish appropriate access to data.
- If new European safety regulatory authorities are established for any of the modes, separate arrangements should be made for the establishment and maintenance of EU databases and for the monitoring of safety performance.
- Encourage further co-operation in transport accident investigation between Member States.
- Encourage and provide financial support for the collection of exposure data for all modes.
- In road transport, continue to support the CARE/CAREPLUS programme and set a target to expand the numbers of common variables within CARE, develop the convergence of the various national data sets and provide regular estimates of under-reporting for non-fatal crashes, particularly for the seriously injured.
- Widen access to the CARE database, presently restricted by EU or national rules, at least to all relevant road safety research institutes within the EU.
- Establish an injury and accident-reporting system, based on linked hospital and police information. Implement a demonstration project to identify injury priorities and changes in injury patterns due to vehicle design changes.
- Set up a website-based road safety information system for public use comprising aggregated fatality, exposure and risk data for road transport in all EU Member States, information on national and EU road safety polices, laws (such as year and level of permitted alcohol, speed limits etc.), recent, important research results as well as an annual EU report on road safety developments.
- In air transport, ensure full compliance with Council Directive 94/56/EC on accident investigation and improve the current Commission proposal on air incident reporting to include the establishment of a centralised EU database and the establishment of a European confidential incident reporting system.
- Establish an EU-wide system of mandatory reporting of rail accidents and take the lead in organising a database of railway accident reports across Europe, accessible electronically.
- Establish an EU-wide system of mandatory reporting of maritime accidents and serious incidents for inclusion in a European central database.
- In order to accelerate the development of the activities recommended above and to ensure support annually in the EU budget, ETSC recommends that the development and operation of EU transport accident, incident and casualty databases should receive 100% funding by the Community and should be an explicit budget sub-heading within Line B2-7202 (transport safety) of the EU budget.