Drivers in minor fender-benders will no longer be required to report it to police, Attorney General Andrew Swan, minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance, said today.
“These amendments respond to a request from the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP) to streamline the accident reporting process so they can better use their resources,” said Swan. “Law enforcement officers told us their resources could be directed to other areas in order to best serve the public.”
Currently, the Highway Traffic Act requires that a traffic accident must be reported to police if it results in bodily injury, death or combined property damage exceeding $1,000. In most minor property-damage-only collisions, it is unnecessary for police to attend the accident scene which means drivers have to visit a police station to make the report.
Under changes to the Highway Traffic Act that go into effect Monday, Oct. 10, motorists will only be required to report to police if a collision involves:
- a fatality;
- serious injury;
- unlicensed drivers or vehicles;
- unidentified vehicles (for example, hit and run, failure to exchange particulars); or
- the suspected use of drugs or alcohol.
Swan also said vehicle damage resulting from a criminal act like vandalism, attempted theft and theft must also still be reported to police.
If a driver or vehicle owner fails to make a police report when required, a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the accident must make the report.
To help drivers in complying with the new reporting rules, MPI staff will tell those reporting claims if they’re required to file a police report.
“Manitoba law enforcement agencies fully support this legislation change,” Brandon Police Service Chief Keith Atkinson, president of MACP, said today. “Using police resources to take reports from drivers involved in minor fender-benders after the fact is not an effective use of resources, and police agencies throughout Manitoba will now be able to dedicate their resources to other matters which require their attention.”
“This is yet another example of the strong, proactive partnerships between law enforcement and the Government of Manitoba, which work co-operatively towards a common goal,” said Winnipeg Police Service Chief McCaskill. “The demand on front-line police officers continues to increase. This change allows resources to be better used in other areas.”
Manitoba has provided funding for an extra 255 police officers since 1999. By directing a three-year commitment of federal funds, 30 more officers are also being added. This combined provincial and federal funding has added a total of 285 police officers to services across Manitoba, 66 of which are new this year.
The Highway Traffic Act
Accident reports by operators of vehicles
155(1) Where an accident occurs on a highway, the person having the care, charge, or control of a vehicle involved therein shall, for the purposes of this Act and the registrar’s records under The Drivers and Vehicles Act, forthwith give in writing to any one injured or sustaining loss or to a peace officer or to a witness
(a) the number of the driver’s licence, if any, of the driver of the vehicle;
(b) the registration number, if any, of the vehicle;
(c) if he is insured under a motor vehicle liability policy of insurance, the name of the insurer and the number of the policy;
(d) if he is not the owner of the vehicle, the name of any insurer with which the owner is insured under a motor vehicle liability policy of insurance and the number of the policy, if those particulars are known to him;
(e) if he is not the registered owner of the vehicle, the name and address of the registered owner; and
(f) if there is a peace officer present at the scene of the accident, such further particulars respecting the accident as the peace officer may require.
Operator to stop vehicle and provide particulars
155(2) Where an accident in which a vehicle is involved occurs on a highway, and the circumstances are such that section 252 of the Criminal Code does not apply thereto, the person having the care, charge, or control of the vehicle, shall stop it and shall proceed as required under subsection (1) and give his name and address and other information as required in that subsection to the person therein mentioned.
Action where damage caused to unattended vehicle
155(3) Where an accident results in damage to an unattended vehicle or to property upon or adjacent to a highway, the driver of every vehicle involved in the accident, in addition to complying with subsections (1) and (2), shall take reasonable steps to find and notify the owner of, or a person who has a right to control, the unattended vehicle or the property, of the circumstances of the accident and give to him the name and address of the driver, the registration number of the vehicle, and the number of the driver’s licence; or if he cannot find and notify that person as aforesaid he shall leave in a conspicuous place in or on the vehicle struck or on the property damaged a written notice giving those particulars.
Reports of serious accidents
155(4) Where a report of an accident causing bodily injury to, or the death of, any person or damage to property in an amount apparently exceeding $1,000. is not made to a peace officer at the scene of the accident pursuant to subsection (1) or (2), or, in the case of any accident, it is impossible to comply with subsection (1) or (2) or to give the notice and information required by subsection (3), as the case may be, the driver, owner, or other person in charge, of each vehicle, directly or indirectly involved in the accident, if he is present at the time the accident occurs, shall forthwith give oral notice of the occurrence of the accident to a peace officer and, at the same time if possible but in any case not later than 7 days after the occurrence of the accident, report the accident to the same or another peace officer and give him a written statement of the accident, signed by the person making the statement, on a form prescribed by, or satisfactory to, the registrar, unless the driver, owner, or other person, is unable to do so by reason of injury or illness; and the peace officer to whom the report is made shall give a written acknowledgment of the receipt of the report to the person making the report if requested.
Reports by passengers
155(5) If the driver, owner, or other person in charge, of a vehicle involved in an accident on a highway is, by reason of injury or illness, or other emergency, unable to make the report and give the statement required by subsection (4), each person who was being carried in or upon any such vehicle at the time of the accident shall make the report, or cause it to be made, and give the statement or cause it to be given, in respect of the vehicle in or upon which he was being carried.
155(6) Where the driver is alone, and is incapable of making the report required by subsection (1) or (2), he shall make the report forthwith after becoming capable of making it.
155(7) No prosecution for a violation of subsection (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) shall be commenced after 2 years have elapsed from the date of the violation.
Action where animal injured
155(8) When a domestic animal is injured by a motor vehicle, the driver or person required, under subsection (1), (2), (4), or (5), to report the accident shall
(a) forthwith report the occurrence to the owner of the animal if known or if he can readily be found, and otherwise to the first peace officer whom he can find or to the clerk of the municipality in which the accident occurs; and
(b) if practicable, remove the animal from the roadway.
Action by peace officer or municipal clerk
155(9) A peace officer or municipal clerk to whom such a report is made under subsection (8) shall report the occurrence to an animal protection officer appointed under The Animal Care Act.
155(10) Repealed, S.M. 2002, c. 40, s. 10.