Drivers could be able to report road accidents online

Two cars crashed into each other

According to the Department for Transport (DfT), more than 140,000 road traffic accidents involving an injury are reported to the police every year.

However, although the majority of accidents are recorded by Police at the scene, around 20% of road accidents are reported in person at a police station – and victims only have 24 hours to do so

By law, drivers are required to report minor accidents at a police station within 24 hours of the accident or for more serious accidents, they must call 999.

The Government has recently launched a consultation on proposals to allow drivers to report road traffic accidents online rather than having to attend a police station in person to report the accident. The hope is that this should reduce the inconvenience for the victim and free up police time to focus on more serious crimes.

This is not something new. Already Police Scotland have online systems in place for reporting crimes such as lost property, stalking and domestic abuse without the need  to go into a police station.

The ability to report minor accidents online causes less stress to the victim as it means they can report the accident at a time that suits them within the 24 hour period and they don’t need to take any time off from work to lodge the report in time.

The DfT are also looking to provide a new app for the hand held devices carried by police officers. The Collision Reporting and Sharing System (CRASH) will make it easier for police to log accidents while on the scene and ensure that across the board online records are up to date as quickly as possible.

In Scotland these proposals will only be implemented should Police Scotland and the Scottish Government wish to adopt them. They will not be compulsory UK wide.

Gordon Dalyell, Partner in Digby Brown's Edinburgh office and Head of our Network Department, said: “We welcome this proposal as it not only makes the reporting of accidents easier for the public, but it also eases the pressure on already stretched police resources.

"We hope that after the consultation process is over that this is something that Police Scotland will be looking to implement should the proposals be approved.”