The B.C. government’s announcement that police are now free to sweep minor traffic accidents to the side of the road and get traffic moving is described as “very forward thinking” by Sidney/North Saanich RCMP officers on the ground.
This comes after B.C. decided to update the threshold for mandatory reporting of property-damage-only collisions (PDOs).
“Having traffic back up because of a minor collision where nobody was hurt doesn’t help anyone – and worse, it can lead frustrated drivers to take steps that are unsafe,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “[This] increase in the damage threshold for these kinds of crashes is long overdue and will allow people and police officers to move damaged vehicles out of the way without delay.”
Before, if damage exceeded $1,000 for motor vehicles, $600 for motorcycles or $100 for bicycles, the attending officers had to complete a special form before the end of their shift.
The reporting threshold is now $10,000 per PDO, regardless of vehicle type, in the expectation that traffic will be allowed to flow quickly, after provincial highways are unblocked.
“The value of vehicles has increased exponentially since those values were set,” said Const. Meighan de Pass. “Even a molded plastic bumper these days can cost over $1,000 so almost all accidents needed paperwork, slowing traffic.”
The threshold increase was effected Friday, March 8, 2019.
Police will continue to file a mandatory, written report with ICBC for every crash they attend that results in death or injury.
“Police officers will continue to attend collisions involving minor property damage at their discretion – for example, if questions arise about driver impairment or who’s at fault,” said Chief Const. Neil Dubord, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police traffic safety committee. “However, lifting the threshold for mandatory, written reports when officers do attend will help clear crash scenes much more quickly. In turn, it may lower risks for those working at the scene and motorists alike.”
The reporting threshold increase is expected to save time for police officers and ICBC. Most PDO reports are because of collisions involving passenger vehicles.