There’s a New Collision Center for Reporting a Collision Within Tucson City Limits

About five years ago, the Tucson Police Department stopped arriving at the scene of “non-injury” collisions within their jurisdiction. “Non-injury” was defined as not requiring ambulance transport from the scene. Keep in mind, it is certainly possible to be badly injured in a collision but not know it until a day or two after the crash.

This procedural change proved challenging for victims of many less-serious car accidents. Prior to the change, officers would arrive at the scene, conduct a small investigation consisting of a few photographs and conversations with the involved parties, issue citations where necessary, and then create a crash report. The crash report contained valuable information such as the conclusion of the officer’s investigation, the names of the involved parties, the insurance information, etc..

After the change was made, those involved in a “non-injury” crash were told to move their cars off the road, exchange information, and leave the scene. This change added uncertainty to an already stressful situation. It allowed at-fault drivers to modify their stories so that their negligence became less obvious as insurance companies attempted to determine who was at fault. Without a police investigation and corresponding report, victims often forgot to ask for the other driver’s address, phone number, and insurance information. This can make it more difficult to start a claim or file a lawsuit.

Car insurance companies have teamed up to fund an alternative. Beginning in June, when you call 9-1-1 after a “non-injury” collision, dispatchers will direct you to the service center at 1100 South Alvernon Way, the location of the new Collision Reporting Center. Employees of Accident Support Services International (ASSI), with joint funding from insurance companies operating within Arizona, have been trained to take appropriate photographs of the damage and to fill out official TPD crash reports. This new procedure will require that both involved parties drive to the center for service.

While this is an improvement from the system in place for the last five years, it is by no means a solution. It may be difficult to convince an individual that just rear-ended you to drive to this location to report the collision. Furthermore, the center is only open for limited hours during the day. Presumably, if your collision occurs outside of business hours, you will have to wait to report the crash, possibly without the presence of the other person(s) involved.

As always, you must be your own advocate if you are involved in a vehicle collision. Be sure to collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses and involved parties. You must also collect the other vehicle’s insurance information. The easiest way to do this is to snap a photo of the driver’s license and insurance card with your phone as you also take some photos of the vehicles at the scene. Even if it is obvious to everyone at the scene of the collision who was at fault, do not assume that the other driver’s story will be the same when he/she eventually talks to the insurance company. Stay safe out there!

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