Minor crash? There's a new way to report it in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Tucson Police Department has partnered with a Canadian company to create official crash reports for minor crashes in the city.

For years, TPD officers have not responded to minor, non-injury crashes because department leaders say it does not have the staff to do so.

The Collision Reporting Center is inside the police station at 22nd Street and Alvernon and is the first of its kind in Arizona.

It is staffed and operated by Accident Support Services International.

How it works:

A 911 the operator will collect information about what happened, and if the operator determines the crash is minor, he or she will refer the drivers to the CRC.  Drivers have 72 hours to come to the center, where ASSI staff will take statements from drivers, photograph damage, and make the report. Staff then sends the report to the drivers’ insurance companies if they want to file a claim, the police department, and the state.

Jannell Duel was one of the first drivers to use the system Wednesday morning after she says a truck rear-ended her near Speedway and I-10 on Tuesday.

At first glance, the damage to her Dodge pickup truck looks superficial, but she says it is worse than she initially thought, “The bumper is pushed in.”

The reporting process takes between 20 and 40 minutes. Duel called it easy and said she believed it would catch on.

Assistant Police Chief Kevin Hall says in addition to creating official crash reports the new program collects and provides crash data to the department and city traffic engineers.

“All data is going to be gathered and available to us as we need it,” Hall said it's possible TPD will use the information and adapt its patrols or enforcement patterns to curb crashes.

“I foresee this as being the model across the country on how non-injury accidents are going to be handled in major metropolitan areas,” Hall said.

ASSI president Steve Sanderson says insurance companies cover the costs of the program. His company has locations across Ontario, Canada, and one in Virginia. He hopes to expand into more cities where police staffing prevents officers from responding to minor crashes. He says several cities in California have expressed interest.

“They are all watching Tucson now because they know that it’s a fairly large city and they want to see what happens,” he said. He added that all ASSI’s locations have been successful since the first one opened more than 20 years ago.

This is a six-month pilot program with the potential to expand after that time, Sanderson said.

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