Access in Europe by a bereaved family to information gathered during an investigation into a fatal road collision: Research project for Scotland’s Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers with support from Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland
Research output: Book/Report › Commissioned report
This project was commissioned by SCID, an organisation campaigning to ensure the rights of victims of road collisions and their families. The families of road death victims have a need to access as much information about the circumstances of the fatal collision in which their loved one was killed in order to aid the grieving process.
In Scotland, fatal road collisions are investigated by the police on behalf of the procurator fiscal (“PF”). There is no independent road collision investigation body. At present, there is no legal right for the family of a road death victim to obtain the police report, collision investigator’s report and associated documentation, including sketches and photographs, compiled by the police, the PF and other experts and agencies during the police investigation into a fatal road collision (“the Investigation Documents”). Where access to the Investigation Documents is refused, the only avenue available to a bereaved family is to initiate a freedom of information (“FOI”) request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (“FOIS Act”). The research carried out for this report, together with previous experiences of SCID and the families it assists, has revealed that such a process is not appropriate for bereaved families.
This report examined, through the use of FOI requests, the systems in place in selected European countries with a view to establishing whether best practice procedures exist in relation to access to information on a fatal road collision which could be used to inform the development of Scots law. It was found that in several European countries, there is a legal right to access the Investigation Documents. In countries where an independent road collision investigation body exists, that body carries out a safety investigation into the collision and publishes a report on its findings which is made available to the family of a road death victim on request.