What to do after a crash: changes in NSW

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Effective from October 15 2014 the requirements for police attendance and investigation of crashes have changed.

Police are now required to attend and investigate all crashes that meet the Major Traffic Crash criteriai. These are specifically where someone is killed, trappedii or injured, someone involved has failed to exchange details or where any of the drivers are allegedly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Changes to police attendance and investigation requirements at crashes in NSW mean that for minor incidents the involved parties will not need to wait for Police to attend the scene.

Police will also attend a crash that does not meet the Major Traffic Crash criteria where they are needed to direct traffic, to deal with hazards such as leaking fluids or damage to power poles, or if a bus or truck needs to be towed. They will also attend if there are other issues relating to the crash that require their attendance, such as aggressive or criminal behaviour.

If you are involved in a crash that does not include any of the above circumstances, you do not need to contact Police to attend and investigate, and Police are not required to attend. However you will need to exchange details with the other people involved in the crash before leaving the site. If any vehicle requires towing, the involved drivers are required to report the crash via the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 after leaving the crash site. You will receive an incident report number for insurance purposes at the end of the call. Minor crashes where no vehicles are towed do not require an incident report number for insurance purposes.

If there are witnesses to the crash willing to provide their details, you should record them. Regardless of the severity of the accident, always alert your insurer as soon as you can after the accident to discuss the appropriate steps to takeiii.

If anyone involved in the accident later realises they are injured, seek medical treatment and call the i.

Despite all these changes, police retain discretion to investigate crashes and take action against offenders as appropriate. This is not limited to Major Traffic Crash criteria incidents: it includes minor or 'Tow Away Only' crashes.

Drivers no longer need to notify the police in the event of a minor car accident. Make sure you exchange full details with all parties involved.

The NSW Police brochure What to do after a car crash - available in ten different languages - provides a step-by-step guide for what to do in the event of a crash and specifies which details are necessary to record in the event of an accident. NSW Police recommend printing the brochure and keeping a copy in your carii. Along with the brochure, you can also download the Emergency+ app for iPhone and Android smartphones. The app uses your phone's GPS to provide emergency service operators with your location details immediatelyiv,v.

iNSW Police Force 2015, Crash Reporting FAQs, viewed 9 January 2015,

iiNSW Police Force 2015, Road Safety, viewed 9 January 2015,

iiiInsurance Council of Australia 2014, NSW accident reporting rules change tomorrow - but insurers should still be notified, viewed 3 December 2014, http://www.insurancecouncil.com.au/assets/media_release/2014/october2014/141014%20NSW%20consumer%20alert%20-%20accident%20reporting%20rules%20are%20changing%20but%20insurers%20should%20be%20notified.pdf

ivFire & Rescue NSW 2014, Emergency+, Google Play Store, viewed 3 December 2014,

vFire Rescue New South Wales 2014, Emergency +, viewed 3 December 2014,