PHILADELPHIA. Police officers will no longer respond to the more than 60,000 automobile crashes without injuries that occur annually in the city under a new policy set to begin May 3, the department announced yesterday.
The move is expected to save time for both officers and drivers — who can often wait up to an hour for a responding officer — but insurance companies don’t know how it will affect the thousands of claims that come with minor crashes. Accident investigators will still handle the 2,500 to 2,800 more serious crashes that occur each year.
“We realize we will still have to go to some because not everyone will get along,” spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said. “But if there’s no towing necessary or injuries and both drivers agree to exchange information, they no longer have to wait for us.”
Vanore said two other major cities where Commissioner Charles Ramsey previously worked, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, already have the policy in place.
Local insurance agencies have known the new policy was coming, but none were ready to talk specifically about the effect it may have on drivers’ abilities to file claims or companies’ tracking of them yesterday.
An Allstate regional spokeswoman said the company is now analyzing what a lack of officers at so many crashes means to proper reporting.
“We’re still trying to vet it all out, what effect it’s going to have on our claims process,” Allstate spokeswoman Tracey King said.