Consultation covers proposed change in relevant legislation, while department develops new digital system for police officers
The Department for Transport (DfT) has said that drivers in England and Wales could soon be able to report road accidents online.
It has proposed changes in the Road Traffic Act to remove the need for people to report a crash in person within 24 hours as part of a consultation on the issue.
The department is also developing a digital system – the Collision Reporting and Sharing System (CRASH) – that will enable police officers to use on app on a handheld device to fill in details of accidents at the scene with accurate locations.
Among the expected advantages is that it will provide highways authorities with accurate and up-do-date information on incidents.
The central feature of the consultation document is that police forces will give drivers the option of reporting accidents online or by phone, thereby saving time for both.
Currently about 140,000 accidents involving personal injuries are reported to the police each year. Most of the reports are taken by police officers at the scene, but 20% are made at police stations.
The DfT has also estimated that a further 55,000 ‘property damage-only’ collisions are reported over the counter each year. This all places burdens on motorists, police forces and businesses that own affected vehicles.
The department says police forces should be able to use online or telephone channels for the process, although it does not want to remove the face-to-face option completely.
Transport 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 However, the current system is out of date; it takes up considerable amounts of time and increases queues for reporting crimes.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.”
The consultation will be open until 28 April.
Image by Tom Page, CC BY 2.0 through flickr