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Rail Accident Investigation

Lessons to be learnt from accidents investigation are crucial for the improvement of safety performance of railways. For that reason, Member States are required to establish independent National Investigation Bodies (NIBs).

NIBs must investigate serious accidents and - at their own discretion - other accidents and incidents.

The rail accident investigations aim at identifying the causes of the accident but also the root causes behind the direct causes, e.g. deficiencies within the companies’ safety management or in the regulatory framework.

Traditionally, the approach and methods to accident investigation vary between NIBs. With the increase of cross-border traffic, a common approach becomes more and more important. ERA supports the NIBs in developing guidance on common investigation methods, by providing a platform for sharing good practice and by offering tailor-made services on request, such as trainings for rail accident investigators or assessments of NIB investigation practices.

Personal data

Railway accident investigations reports are issued by National Investigation Bodies at the level of the Member States. Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) applies in relation to the content of such reports.

Related guidance and clarification

Elements of in-depth investigation - ERA expectations

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