The Government has launched a consultation on proposals to allow drivers to report accidents online, rather than in person at a police station.
Many police forces already allow victims to report crimes online and this could be extended to crashes in a bid to modernise the service, roads minister Jesse Norman will tell the National Roads Policing Conference today (January 30, 2018).
More than 140,000 personal-injury road traffic accidents are reported to police forces in Great Britain each year. Most are recorded by an officer attending the scene of the accident, but about 20% of accidents are reported by drivers ‘over the counter’ in a police station. In 2015, more than 27,000 reports were made over the counter in a police station.
In addition, the Department for Transport (DfT) estimates that a further 55,000 ‘property damage-only’ road traffic collisions (collisions in which no one was injured, but damage was done to another vehicle or another person’s property) are reported over the counter in a police station.
The DfT says that the move would lessen the burden on motorists who have to report a crash in person within 24 hours, cut the need for people to take time off work and free up police resources. However, it says that people will still be able to report crashes at police stations, if they so wish.
Norman, who is today launching a consultation into the plans, will say: “Our roads are among the safest in the world, in part due to the outstanding work of traffic officers. However, the current system is out of date; it takes up considerable amounts of time and increases queues for reporting crimes.
“The ability to report accidents online will make the whole process quicker and easier for both drivers and the police.”
Norman will also announce an updated system for officers to record crashes, which is being developed by the DfT and will be free for all police forces.
The new Collision Reporting and Sharing System (CRASH) will see officers use an app on a handheld device to fill in details of accidents at the scene with accurate locations. This will not only make the process quicker and save police time, but highways authorities will also be able to access accurate and up to date information, meaning councils can better plan safety improvements and in a shorter time.
Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, roads policing lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “We always welcome ideas which enable the public to be better served. On line collision reporting will greatly benefit members of the public and also enable officers to deal more quickly with their collision reports, meaning they can spend less time on paperwork and more time on police work.”
If supported, police forces in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to adopt online reporting.
The consultation runs until April 24, to have your say click here.