Whether it’s a fender-bender or multi-car pileup, police often have plenty of investigative work to do before the road can be cleared.
Roughly 270,000 crashes are reported to ICBC each year and 55,000 of them are “casualty crashes” involving an injury or a fatality. When police are called — particularly for serious injury or death — investigations can be lengthy, involve charges and require a collision reconstructionist to do a forensic analysis of the scene.
Investigators are trained to quickly assess whether a crash was caused by impaired driving, medical condition or mechanical failure, but it can take additional time to gather information depending on the circumstances, said Const. Melissa Wutke of RCMP E-Division traffic services.
“Police must determine the reason for the crash or contributing factors … such as if the driver isn’t licensed or has outstanding warrants. In addition, the officer is taking into account the weather, condition of the road and other factors present,” she said.
Sgt. Sukh Sidhu of the Delta Police Department’s traffic section said the process following a minor accident typically goes as follows:
• Upon arriving at the scene, officers ensure the area is safe for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and first responders, often by rerouting traffic with cones or a parked cruiser with flashing lights.
• Confirm that anyone injured in the crash is being attended to by first responders and identify everyone involved in the crash.
• Take info and written or audio statements from everyone involved as well as any witnesses. Collect smartphone and dash-cam footage and identify potential sources of security footage nearby.
• Conduct a thorough investigation of the scene and complete an MV6020 accident report (for crashes involving injury, fatality, vehicle damage over $1,000 or property damage). Provide a copy to the drivers or registered owners of the vehicles involved.
• Have the vehicles moved or towed. Make sure everyone involved has a safe way home. The tow-truck driver typically cleans up any debris and firefighters may do a washdown of any fuel or oil.
• After the scene is cleared, complete a primary report and submit it to a police database. Forward the MV6020 report to ICBC.
ICBC asks drivers to record each others’ name, licence and contact information, licence plate details, year, make and model of car as well as the names and contact information of witnesses. They can then report a claim at icbc.com or call 604-520-8222 or 1-800-910-4222.
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