- Examine crash scenes to work out why an accident happened
- You'll need an analytical, enquiring mind and problem-solving skills
- You may work commercially or attend crime scenes like arson or murder investigations
As a road accident investigator, you'll be responsible for carrying out detailed examinations of traffic accidents. You'll collect evidence like photos, videos, witness statements and expert reports, and use this to work out what happened in the accident.
You might work with 3D visualisation programmes or 'skid testing' packages, in a police traffic unit, or on behalf of an insurance company or legal firm. You may also attend other crime scenes like arson or murder investigations.
- Examining vehicles and vehicle parts
- Creating plans of the scene and making time and distance studies
- Working out vehicle speed through the amount of crush damage
- Checking tachograph information on vehicles
- Getting technical information from vehicle manufacturers
- Producing reports
- Acting as an expert witness
Your working hours may vary depending on your role. When you're office based, you'll work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may need to work extra hours to meet deadlines. When working at an accident scene, you'll work the hours that the job demands. This could include working evenings and weekends or on a shift basis. You'll need to be on-call. Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
This role would be ideal for someone with an enquiring mind and problem-solving skills, the ability to analyse and compare data, a methodical approach to gathering evidence, maths and IT skills.
You could get into this job by taking a course with De Montfort University in partnership with AiTS. Courses include a University Certificate of Professional Development (UCPD) Forensic Road Collision Investigation and a Foundation Degree in Forensic Road Collision Investigation. The certificate is the starting point if you want to become a forensic road collision investigator and have no experience of investigating road collisions. You would then move on to the foundation degree. After the foundation degree, you can 'top-up' to the BSc (Hons) Professional Studies in Forensic Road Collision Investigation. Qualifications are offered on a part-time basis through a mix of online and classroom learning.
You may also be able to apply for an investigator job if you have qualifications and several years' experience in engineering, technical testing or health and safety.
Alternatively, you could join the police service as an officer or part of the civilian support staff and work in a road policing department, while doing qualifications on the job in traffic collision investigation.
There are private training courses in road traffic investigation but it's important to check that the course you do is approved by a recognised awarding body or institution.
It could be helpful to join The Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators, for professional recognition and training opportunities.
With experience, you could move into management or work on a freelance or consultancy basis.