SPRINGFIELD (WGGB) — Every time police respond to a traffic accident, they write up a report. And every time you or the insurance company want a copy of that accident report you were forced to go through the police to get it… until now.
Getting into a car accident can range from anywhere to an inconvenience to a life altering event, and everywhere in between. But just within the last few weeks, a handful of Western Mass police departments have implemented a new system designed to make accessing the report easier and more convenient.
When somebody is involved in an accident after the officer does the investigation he will hand out one of these little cards with the accident number and the officers name on it,” said Southwick Police Chief Mark Krynicki. “And on the back of that card is how you go about getting your accident report.”
Now, instead of having to request a report the old-fashioned way at the police station, you can simply log onto the website getcrashreports.com from your home computer. The information is available quickly… in just 72 hours after the accident… and can be download and printed.
“What we’re finding is thought that with a technical generation they want it instantly and it’s just so much easier to go to getcrashreports.com,” said Krynicki.
But there’s a price to pay for that convenience – $10 on your credit card. And while your personal information is redacted – social security number, date of birth – the details of your accident are available to third parties.
In fact, one of our station vehicles here at ABC40 news was involved in an accident less than a week ago and already, we received two letters. One advertising an injury rehab business and one from a personal injury lawyer.
In Southwick, where they just started using the online service, they’ve haven’t yet received any feedback good or bad. But from a financial stand point, the chief says it’s a win-win. His part-time clerk now spends less time on accident related paperwork and more time on other duties, and the town actually makes money from the information they provide.
“That information goes to Carfax and Carfax pays for that and we have a contract that we get part of that payment,” said Krynicki. He says Southwick will get a quarterly check from getcrashreports.com but the system is so new he doesn’t have any idea yet how much money it will be.
Springfield police use the same on-line system.