The UK government has launched a public consultation on Department for Transport (DfT) proposals that would allow drivers to report traffic accidents using a new online service.
More than 130,000 personal-injury accidents are reported to the police each year. Most of them are recorded by an officer at the scene, with around 26,000 made at police stations. A further 55,000 damage-only crashes were also reported over the counter at police stations in 2015. Many police forces already allow victims to report crimes online, and this could be extended to crashes, in a bid to modernize the service. The move would lessen the burden on motorists who currently have to report a crash in person within 24 hours, making it less likely that they have to take time off work, while freeing up police resources. Under the proposals, people will still be able to report crashes at police stations. If supported in the 12-week consultation, police forces in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to adopt online reporting.
The government has also announced an updated system for officers to record crashes. This is currently being developed by the DfT, and will be free to 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, giving an accurate location. 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, enabling councils to better plan safety improvements, faster.
Announcing the proposals at the National Roads Policing Conference, UK Roads Minister Jesse Norman, said, “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 However, the current system is out of date; it takes up considerable amounts of time and increases queues for reporting crimes.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.”
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. Online 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.”