New regulations regarding the attendance of police at traffic crash sites are now in force across the state.
NSW Police announced that from today (October 15) officers will only show up at the scene and investigate if certain criteria are met, including whether or not there has been car accident injuries or deaths.
One or more of three specifications must be met for police to now examine the circumstances of the crash: the death or injury of an individual, a driver appearing impaired due to drugs or alcohol, or instances where the people involved fail to exchange information.
If none of these criteria are satisfied but a traffic crash results in someone needing their vehicle towed, drivers are encouraged to organise their own removal arrangements. The incident should then be reported to police later.
Furthermore, it is now not necessary to inform the police when minor collisions occur. According to NSW Police, this is the case even for insurance claims.
Tackling red tape
Officials claim the changes will remove the needless bureaucracy that was prevalent in the previous system, helping the police force to handle vehicle crashes more appropriately in the future.
Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, traffic and highway patrol commander, said drivers can expect fewer blocked lanes and a reduction in rubber-necking. Roads can also be freed up more quickly and effectively.
“The changes are aimed at improving the safety of motorists, who in tow-only crashes will now be able to move off the road faster rather than waiting for police, minimising the likelihood of a secondary impact,” he explained.
“Police resources will also be better utilised and can now be diverted into broader road safety initiatives and other investigations.”
Instructions for drivers
Commissioner Hartley urged motorists to check the NSW Police website to fully understand the new rules and the protocol for dealing with a traffic crash. The changes took effect from midnight on Tuesday October 14.
“Police will no longer be required to attend tow-only crashes and will not take reports of minor collisions,” he confirmed.
“If motorists have concerns or are in doubt of what to do, they should call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency or the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 for information.”
In circumstances where motorists have tried all other options to get their vehicle towed, NSW Police said further advice and assistance is also available through the Police Assistant Line.