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An investigation branch that probes road traffic collisions to establish their cause and make recommendations to improve road safety could be set up by the government.

Working in a similar way to independent bodies operating in the air, maritime and rail industries, the Road Collision Investigation Branch (RCIB) would carry out thematic investigations, as well as looking at specific incidents of concern.

A consultation into these plans has now been launched by the department for transport, due to what it described as “the huge developments which are taking place across the transport sector, such as the roll out of increasingly automated and electric vehicles”.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “The UK’s roads are among the safest in the world but we’re always looking at ways to make them even safer.

“A new investigation branch would play a huge role in this work by identifying the underlying causes of road traffic collisions so we can take action to prevent them from happening again.”

The RAC Foundation said that following many years of progress, sustained road safety improvement had stalled and a new body could be the solution.

“We should be challenging ourselves on whether we are understanding all we can about the causes of road collisions and what could be done to prevent them,” said Steve Gooding, RAC Foundation director.

“Our research to date suggests that more could be learnt - which is why today’s consultation is so important and so welcome.”

The consultation has been published on GOV.UK and runs until 9 December.