Collision Reporting Centres (CRC) scheduled to open in Edmonton are expected to save police time and alleviate frustration for motorists.
Accidents with damage are usually reported to police, but these centres will eliminate that step, except in the case of incidents that involve criminal acts, extensive property damage, serious injuries or fatalities.
"I'm taking my son to the hockey game, you're taking your partner out for dinner, we collide. We exchange information. We come in at our convenience the next day," Accident Support Services International (ASSI) President Steve Sanderson said at a news conference.
ASSI will be running the centres as a pilot project, which are set to open Sept. 29. The north location will be at 15750 116th Ave. and the south location with be at 5805 87A St.
Our collision reporting solutions free up police officers, allowing them to attend to higher priority calls or reallocate resources elsewhere. - Steve Sanderson
Sanderson said the collision reporting process will be more streamlined and can speed up the insurance claims process. Sanderson added the centres should be less stressful than roadside reporting and safer, since motorists will spend less time at the scene.
Drivers involved in minor collisions will be asked to visit a location within 24 hours so staff can take photos of damage, help contact family members and insurance providers.
The centres are expected to employ 30 people and be able to serve 60,000 customers every year.
"Our collision reporting solutions free up police officers, allowing them to attend to higher priority calls or re-allocate resources elsewhere," Sanderson said.
"Additionally, moving collision reporting from the side of the road prevents potential secondary collisions."
Edmonton Police Service (EPS) Chief Dale McFee said the force responds to 34,000 motor vehicle collisions annually.
"They can be some of the most time-consuming tasks and they happen daily, usually when traffic is at its heaviest, creating safety issues and frustrations for motorists," McFee said.
EPS said three officers will immediately return to other duties on the front line when locations open this fall. The new service also comes at no additional cost to police or the public.
"Our program is funded by participating insurance companies that write insurance policies in the province of Alberta," Sanderson said.
Predictive analytics will aim to reduce the number of collisions in the city, he added. For example, if data shows an intersection where multiple accidents are happening during left turns, a case could be made for adding a dedicated left turn lane.
"Everybody in Edmonton knows where the top 10 [accident] intersections are, but why are they happening?" he said.
The pilot project means Edmonton will join cities in Alberta and Canada with ASSI locations. CRCs are already open in Toronto, Grande Prairie, and Medicine Hat.