What To Do After A Motor Vehicle Incident
NSW Police have announced that from October 15 officers will no longer attend minor vehicle collisions or accidents where cars need to be towed. Until now police have had to attend all crashes where towing is required. In future police will attend only if someone involved is injured, drunk, on drugs or fails to exchange details.
Traffic and highway commander Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said the changes to reporting requirements would mean police save time and resources by not attending 20,000 minor accidents a year. He said many callouts were because air bags had gone off in a minor bump.
He said people involved in a minor accident should move to the side of the road, exchange details and drive off, freeing up the traffic flow. From October 15, only if the vehicle had to be towed do people need, as soon as possible, to report the incident to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. Police event numbers will no longer be issued for accidents that don’t need to be towed.
That’s all very well, but what if it’s your accident? What if somebody side-swipes your car while parking? What if you are rear-ended at traffic lights by somebody on their phone? What if the kids in the back are screaming and terrified by an aggressive driver?
Hartley insists the change won’t allow drivers at fault to get off the hook. If a driver suspects the other driver has been drinking, taken drugs or is aggressive they should call police to the scene.
But it begs the question; how would you know whether the other driver is affected by alcohol or drugs? Surely they’d want to get away as quickly as possible and you’d be stressed and nervous of a confrontation.
If you are in a collision, legal experts suggest that:
- You should always alert your insurer following a collision, as vehicles may be seriously damaged no matter how light it may look. The insurer will ask questions to see if the car is safe to drive.
- Some injuries, particularly spinal injuries, might seem minor at the time but can turn into serious long term disabilities that affect earning capacity. If you suffer an injury, particularly a back or neck injury, call the police even if it seems minor at the time.
- You should take photos of the accident scene from different angles, including any skid marks on the road as these may be helpful in the event of a claim. But don’t put your life at risk taking pictures. You got through the accident, don’t cause another one.