Police Told They No Longer Need to Investigate Most Collisions in BC
When a collision occurs involving injury, death or a prescribed amount of property damage, attending police officers are required to complete a written report of the crash. This can be a valuable resource for collision victims as it documents the parties involved, labels the probable offender for the crash, highlights contributing factors along with road conditions and also notes the names of known witnesses. The ‘prescribed amount’ historically was $1,000 for motor vehicles, $600 for motorcycles $600 and $100 for bicycles. This captured most collisions.
In a bit of a perplexing development the BC Government has changed this threshold to $10,000. A press briefing released last week noted as follows:
“Having traffic back up because of a minor collision where nobody was hurt doesn’t help anyone – and worse, it can lead frustrated drivers to take steps that are unsafe,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Today’s increase in the damage threshold for these kinds of crashes is long overdue and will allow people and police officers to move damaged vehicles out of the way without delay.”
Currently, officers who attend a PDO must complete a written report before any vehicles can be removed from the road if damage exceeds $1,000 (for motorcycles, $600; for bicycles, $100). By increasing the reporting threshold to $10,000 per PDO, regardless of vehicle type, government expects that provincial highways will be able to be unblocked more efficiently.
The BC Government has recently labelled almost every injury sustained in a collision as “minor”. They have now labelled all collisions causing under $10,000 in vehicle damage as “minor”. Few people would consider a crash causing $9,000 in damages as anything but severe. It makes little sense to crack down on speeding and distracted driving (activities which very well could cause collisions) but to ignore investigations when actual collisions occur.
This development takes an important tool away from collision victims who later need to advocate on their own behalf. If you are a collision victim in BC it is now more important than ever to document matters that the police used to record following a crash.