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Minor accidents don’t need police involvement

If you are involved in a minor fender-bender, you don’t need to call police.

Every day the police get called to several collisions in and around our community, however sometimes our attendance is not required.  The Prince George are requesting the public’s help in reducing these calls for service.

The RCMP have established a set of guidelines detailing when you should be calling police and when those involved in minor collisions will be able to record necessary information and clear the area sooner, without police involvement.

The Prince George RCMP will only be responding to serious collisions that meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • SERIOUS INJURY or DEATH. Someone has been injured and taken to hospital (usually via ambulance), or someone has died. Minor injuries (cuts, scrapes, bruises, etc), or tissue damage (whiplash, etc), are not serious injuries in the purview of police response.  RCMP encourage people to get medical treatment at a later time, but will only respond to serious injuries where someone is being transported to hospital for immediate care, or where someone has died;
  • CRIME. A Criminal offence has been committed. Impaired driving, dangerous driving, criminal negligence, police pursuit, etc, are criminal offences.  Speeding, failing to stop for a red light and following too close are not criminal offences.  These are violations under the BC Motor Vehicle Act;
  • PUBLIC SAFETY. If your vehicle is not moveable, is blocking a major roadway, and the police are needed to direct traffic so that a second collision does not occur, police should be called. A collision in a parking lot or on a residential street, does not meet this criteria.  A collision on a busy road, at the crest of a hill, or around a blind curve, are collisions that the police should attend to make sure that a second collision does not occur.

As for the vast majority of other collisions, such as parking lot fender-benders and rear-enders, the police ask for the public’s assistance in reducing the strain on limited police resources.  Here are things that people can do:

  • Keep a notepad and pen in your vehicle;
  • Move your vehicles off the roadway, and put your hazard lights on;
  • Exchange information with the other parties involved.Use the pen and paper to write down the vehicle licence plate number, the make, model and colour of the vehicle, the identity of the other driver including their driver’s licence number, and insurance information if the vehicle is not insured by ICBC.  Also make note of the time, location, as well as the road and weather conditions where the collision occurred;
  • If your cell phone has a camera, take pictures of your damage, their damage, and pictures of the scene that can help you tell your side of the story;
  • If your unoccupied vehicle was the victim of a hit and run, such as in a parking lot or in front of your residence, make notes and take photos as above, and report to ICBC.This does not need to be reported to police;
  • Report your collision to ICBC, either online or by phone, 24 hours a day.

“Police attendance is not required at the majority of collisions,” said Sgt. Matt LaBelle, in charge of the Prince George RCMP’s Municipal Traffic Services Section.   “Calls for service, when not required, are a real strain on our limited resources.  We want to focus our efforts on preventing the collisions from occurring, through education and enforcement.  Please pull your vehicles off the road, exchange information with the other people involved, take photographs with your smart phones, and report the collision to ICBC.  They offer an easy reporting service via phone or online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

To report a collision to ICBC 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 1-800-910-4222 or use their easy to use online reporting system at www.icbc.com.

If you see a traffic violation and want to make a report, please call our non-emergency line at 250-561-3300.  In order to issue a violation ticket under B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act, police require a formal statement and your willingness to attend court.  Make note of the time, date & location of the offence, the license plate of the offending vehicle, direction of travel and a general description of the incident.  If police are provided with a statement & your willingness to attend court, investigators can follow-up with the registered owner of the vehicle and issue them a violation ticket.  We cannot do this without your witness account.

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