Police responded to crashes down slightly

The number of minor auto collisions — where there are no injuries and police did not attend — have been rising steadily in Hamilton over the past three years.

According to numbers from the accident reporting centres at the Mountain, downtown and east end police stations, 8,285 collisions were reported in 2018 involving 11,666 people.

That’s up from 7,514 accidents involving 10,602 people that were reported in 2017 and 6,922 crashes and 9,809 people in 2016.

Shannon McCully, manager of the Mountain reporting centre when the stats were collected, said most of the crashes are weather-related, particularly if the city gets a big snow storm.

“There are some very sturdy individuals which will fight the storm to come in and report, but the aftermath is definitely felt for several days afterwards,” said McCully.

Veteran Hamilton Police traffic specialist Const. Claus Wagner said an increased number of drivers and poor driving habits are also to blame for the rising number of collisions most of which he noted, happen at intersections.

“When (drivers) come up to a stop sign or a stop light, if they’re about to turn right, they’re not coming with the intention of stopping first, they’re just thinking can I roll through and they’re half into the turn when they finally stop,” said Wagner.

He noted such poor driving habits can cause accidents when the motorist pulls out without correctly judging the speed of the traffic coming from their left or they could strike a pedestrian trying to cross the street.

Last year, Hamilton police responded to 2,932 collisions. Of those, 148 were alcohol or drug related.

In 2017, police attended 2,813 crashes and 160 were alcohol or drug related and in 2016 police reported 3,011 accidents and 121 of them were alcohol or drug-related.

Wagner said police don’t have accurate numbers as to how many of the collisions involve distracted driving as drivers are loath to admit they were on their cellphone when the crash occurred.

Back at the Mountain reporting centre, McCully noted another reason for the increased reporting numbers is that insurance companies these days want a report for any collision even if it is under the $2,000 damage threshold for reporting.

She said drivers must exchange information at the scene of the accident, including license plate numbers, ownership and insurance information.

In most cases drivers will take photos of that information with their cellphones, but McCully advises drivers to make sure those photos are clear as soon as they are taken.

“If it’s not clear you can’t use it,” she said.

If someone is in an accident and the other driver does not wish to provide the information, McCully said they should write down the plate number of the other vehicle and that party will be considered a fail to remain or refusal to give information.

“By law you have to exchange driver’s license, ownership and insurance when you have a collision,” McCully said.

All non-injury and non-police attended collisions in Hamilton must be reported at one of the three centres.

To make a report, the driver of the vehicle must attend the centre with their license, ownership and insurance information along with the vehicle involved in the crash.

McCully noted about 10 per cent of the vehicles show up on the back of a tow-truck.

Centre officials will take several photos of the vehicle and copies of the report will go to police and the insurance company.

Since she was interviewed this story, McCully has moved to a new job in Brantford.

Source: The Hamilton Spectator