to ask Her Majesty's Government:
Following the accident on the A23 on 16 May in which eight people were killed:
- (a) how many people were arrested;
- (b) whether the scene was declared a "scene of crime" by the police;
- (c) how many days the road was closed to traffic;
- (d) whether they will set up a public inquiry into the cause of the accident and make recommendations;
- (e) whether an immediate speed limit of 50 miles per hour was imposed, enforced by speed cameras, on this and other roads of similar design and traffic intensity, pending the report from the public inquiry;
- (f) whether the police will investigate whether the infrastructure manager may be guilty of corporate manslaughter;
- (g) whether they will treat the road safety issues arising from the accident in a similar manner to a railway accident.[HL2972]
§ Baroness Scotland of Asthal
Following inquiries to the Highways Agency and Sussex Police, I understand that the position is as follows:
- (a) There were no arrests following the incident.
- (b) Sussex Police did declare the site a "scene of crime". This is the practice with all incidents involving a road death, and subsequent investigations are carried out in accordance with the guidelines set out in the road death investigation manual prepared by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
- (c) The road was closed for 15 hours and 15 minutes.
- (d) It is too early to say if there will be a public inquiry. The police will however prepare a comprehensive report for the coroner of West Sussex.
- (e) No immediate speed limit of 50 mph was imposed. At present the Highways Agency does not intend to reduce the speed limit to 50 mph, enforced by safety cameras, on this and other roads of similar design and traffic intensity.
- (f) The police investigation will include the actions and responsibilities of all individuals and organisations.
- (g) The Highways Agency has already commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory to investigate this incident.