Drivers might soon have the option of reporting collisions online, under new proposals set out by the government’s Department for Transport (DfT).

Many police forces already allow victims to report crimes online. The proposal would extend this reporting feature to include crashes in a bid to modernise the service. According to the DfT the move would lessen the burden on motorists who must report a crash in person within 24 hours, eliminate the need for people to take time off work, and free up police resources. People will still be able to report crashes at police stations.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman launched a consultation into the plans at the National Roads Policing Conference on 30 January.

“Our roads are among the safest in the world, in part due to the outstanding work of traffic officers. However, the current system is out of date; it takes up considerable amounts of time and increases queues for reporting crimes,” said Norman. “The ability to report accidents online will make the whole process quicker and easier for both drivers and the police.”

More than 130,000 personal-injury incidents are reported to the police each year. Most are recorded by an officer at the scene but around 20% of the reports are made at police stations. An additional 55,000 damage-only crashes were reported in person in 2015.

An updated system for officers to record crashes is also being developed by the DfT. The new Collision Reporting and Sharing System (CRASH) will see officers use an app on a handheld device to fill in details of incidents at the scene with accurate locations. In addition to saving police time, highways authorities will be able to access accurate and up-to-date information, helping councils to better plan safety improvements.

View the DfT online collision reporting consultation.