If you're not hurt, get out of the way and then call the cops -- Philadelphia's new fender-bender policy starts Monday, May 3, 2010.
From now on, if you're in an auto accident and no one is injured, you don't have to wait for police to get to the scene -- you can collect all the critical information and file an accident report on your own, either in person or by phone.
Shifting responsibility to the drivers could save police from going out on as many as 50,000 minor accident calls a year, according to Lt. Frank Vanore. The department could re-focus their efforts on the most serious accidents and crime-fighting needs.
"When we looked at this, there's more than 68,000 accidents [a year] that are what we call or the state calls non-reportable. Currently, we dispatch a vehicle to each one of those accidents...and in most cases, people are just looking for the DC (District Control) number to give their insurance companies," said Lt. Vanore.
Here are the new guidelines for minor accidents where no one is hurt and there's no damage to anything other than the cars involved:
Move your car to a safe place on the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.
Call 911 and they'll help you figure out if an officer needs to come out or not.
If no officer's needed, get the right information from the other driver so you can file your accident report.
- Drivers' License Number
- Insurance Company Name and Policy Number
- Year/Make/Model/Color of Car
- License Plate Number
- VIN (vehicle identification number)
After you exchange all that information with the other driver, then you can file your report either in person at the district headquarters closest to the accident or closest to where you live or call and get your accident on the record by phone. The Police Department's website lists all the districts and makes it easy to search for the nearest one by zip code.
End the end, you'll get that "District Control" number which is what you need for your insurance company.