Two collision reporting centres will open in Edmonton this fall in hopes of providing a more streamlined reporting process for those who get into minor crashes.
The Edmonton Police Service is partnering with Accident Support Services International Ltd. (ASSI) to open the centres. ASSI is a management company that bridges police and insurance providers by providing post-collision assistance to drivers.
One centre will be located at 15750 – 116 Ave. in north Edmonton and the other will be on the city’s south side at 5805 – 87A St. They’re meant to act as one-stop-shops for people who get into collisions.
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Once the centres open, people who get into a minor collision will report to one of the locations to have ASSI staff help them complete a police report, which includes taking pictures of vehicle damage and contacting family members and insurance providers.
This means drivers will no longer need to report to an EPS division front counter or wait for police at the collision site. Front counters will no longer take these types of collision reports, police said.
The EPS said this streamlined approach will free up officers to respond to higher priority calls, while clearing roadways faster.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to improve service delivery and introduce innovative business practices that help us use our resources more efficiently,” police chief Dale McFee said.
“It can take several hours from the time a collision occurs to the conclusion of an investigation, which ties up officers and leaves motorists waiting. The centres won’t just improve how we’re using our resources, they’ll also create a safer environment for Edmonton’s motorists by moving the reporting process off the roadway and into a dedicated space.”
McFee said each year, officers respond to and process approximately 34,000 motor vehicle collisions.
“This often boils down to a considerable amount of administrative work,” he said.
“They can be some of the most time-consuming tasks our people perform and they happen daily, usually when traffic is at its heaviest, creating safety issues and frustrations for motorists.”
Additionally, a non-injury, property damage collision takes on average about 1.5 hours to two hours to complete.
“This means motorists can wait several hours from the time the accident happens to the time police show up, to the time the scene is processed and finished.”
On top of that, it takes about one hour per driver interaction for staff taking reports at EPS division front counters, McFee said.
“This is time that officers can be using differently and it’s time and stress Edmonton’s motorists can also be saved. We’ve heard from citizens that they want EPS to focus on crime and emergency aspects of police work,” the chief said.
The EPS believes about 60 per cent of the workload at division front counters will be removed. McFee said the centres will immediately free up about three officers, with another 10-12 officers potentially being freed up in the near future.
“We think it’s going to take approximately a year to transition this to where it needs to be, because it’s got to be done properly, we’ve got to get through the bumps and the kinks,” McFee said.
People who are in major collisions with injuries, a fatality or criminal activity will still be required to call 911. Police will also continue to respond to collisions involving suspended drivers, dangerous goods and extensive damage to private or government property.
The president of ASSI said the company currently operates 41 collision reporting centres across Canada.
“This allows the public to come in at their convenience, within 24 hours,” Steve Sanderson said.
“The centre also provides early contact between drivers and insurance companies, which speeds up the claims process and delivers additional customer service. So while you’re in the centre, if you wish to report to your insurer, we electronically send that to your insurance company and they’ll send you back a text saying, ‘Here’s your claim number. We’re on it’ and it makes your life easier.”
The EPS said a public education campaign will be launched before the centres open to ensure drivers know about this new reporting process, where the centres will be located and the hours of operation.
McFee said the centres come at no cost to the public or the EPS, as they’re paid for by the insurance providers who support ASSI.
The centres are scheduled to open on Sept. 29.