It is estimated that 82,000 accidents are reported to the police each year. Each one of these involves a member of the public taking time out from their usual schedule to report the accident and so proposals to modernise the system would surely be welcome?
Under the current law, if one is involved in an accident which involves injury to a person other than yourself, damage is caused to any other vehicle, or to certain animal other than ones travelling in your vehicle, or to property, then you must stop and give your details to anyone having reasonable grounds to require them. If you fail to do this then you must report the accident at a police station and do so as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event within 24 hours. The penalties for failing to do so are onerous, between 5 to 10 penalty points will be endorsed on the licence, there is a possibility of discretionary disqualification and/or in the worst cases imprisonment.
The government believe that the current requirements put a burden on drivers and businesses. In 1988 when the Road Traffic Act was drafted, the network of local manned police stations was far more extensive than it is today. There is also a burden on the police force, as it is estimated that reporting an accident over the counter is expensive, taking about 20 minutes of police time.
The government have therefore opened a consultation on allowing police forces to specify other means of reporting accidents, such as using an app or through an internet page . The government are consulting on giving the police additional powers, there is no intention to remove the option to report at a police station.
The full consultation can be found at :-