The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority (NSIA) investigates certain categories of serious road traffic accidents and incidents. The purpose of the investigations is to identify causes and if necessary provide safety recommendations intended to improve safety, without apportioning blame or liability.
Act 18th of June 1965 No 4 relating to road traffic (the Road Traffic Act) chapter VII provides the legal basis for the investigations, including notification procedures, securing evidence, obligation to make a statement to the investigating authority, confidentiality, andthat the investigation shall be conducted independently of any other investigation or enquiry of the same case.Regulation 30th of June 2005 No 793 relating to public investigation and notification of road traffic accidents describes in detail the framework of the investigations.
The NSIA has a 24/7 on-call service, and the Road Department is immediately notified of accidents subject to the reporting requirements by the Police and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA). The notification is limited to serious accidents involving heavy vehicles or buses, accidents in tunnels, or accidents involving hazardous goods. The obligation to notify also includes other accidents in cases where the Police or the NPRA consider that the NSIA may have an interest in investigating.
When notified, NSIA immediately decides the need for an inspection of the site. NSIA's road department has no statutory requirements concerning which accidents to investigate. The department chooses the accidents it investigates based on preliminary investigations and received information. When selecting the accidents and incidents to investigate, emphasis is placed on the severity of the accident, whether it is an example of series of similar accidents or if an investigation can be expected to provide new knowledge. The investigation aims to uncover knowledge that can improve traffic safety on the operational, organisational and/or legislative levels.
The NSIA itself defines the scope of its investigations. The investigation is documented through an official report that describes the course of events, causal factors in accidents and incidents and prospective recommendations.
The report is sent to the Ministry of Transport and made public. It is a goal to complete the report within 12 months after the accident. Prospective safety recommendations will be followed up by the Ministry of Transport.
The Road Traffic and Land Defence Department of the Accident Investigation Board is responsible for investigating traffic accidents in accordance with the regulations described above. The department has employees with both operational, technical and theoretical expertise in the road and vehicle area.
The Road Traffic and Land Defence Department is led by Department Director Rolf Mellum.