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An announcement made by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General has confirmed new changes to how police deal with minor crash scenes.

Previously, officers could not clear a scene until a property-damage-only (PDO) report was written in incidents where damages of at least $1,000 were incurred.

Now, the threshold for a mandatory PDO has been raised to $10,000 of damage or more regardless of vehicle type, meaning crash scenes can be cleared with fewer interruptions.

“Having traffic back up because of a minor collision where nobody was hurt doesn’t help anyone – and worse, it can lead frustrated drivers to take steps that are unsafe,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General in a release.

“Today’s increase in the damage threshold for these kinds of crashes is long overdue and will allow people and police officers to move damaged vehicles out of the way without delay.”

The agency believes that the changes will be most noticeable on provincial highways, where this new post-collision protocol can serve to unblock the road more efficiently.

Other policies involving vehicle collisions remain unaffected, like mandatory reports for crashes that result in injury or death.

“Police officers will continue to attend collisions involving minor property damage at their discretion – for example, if questions arise about driver impairment or who’s at fault,” said Chief Const. Neil Dubord, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police traffic safety committee.

“However, lifting the threshold for mandatory, written reports when officers do attend will help clear crash scenes much more quickly. In turn, it may lower risks for those working at the scene and motorists alike.”

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