Your Take: Drivers Voice Concern Over New Policy - 8 News NOW

Your Take: Drivers Voice Concern Over New Policy

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LAS VEGAS -- When the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced Monday a change to the department's policy on not responding to accidents where no one is hurt, it brought a fury of questions and comments to the 8 News Now Facebook page.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said he would like officers to be focused on preventing deadly crashes -- adding the department is stretched too thin, with an average of 250 hours a week dedicated to "fender benders."

The change, which goes into effect March 3, will require drivers to exchange personal information, take photos and gather witnesses before sending claims to their insurance company. All without the help of police.

Drivers are worried the change will force up insurance rates, and could also increase out-of-pocket expenses on repair claims.

"Why are police, who are sworn to uphold the law, being allowed to practice this form of extortion," Patrick Lyons said on Facebook. "Aren't they public servants, or have we forgotten that?"

Metro said they will continue to respond when someone is hurt, it's a hit-and-run, or when a driver refuses to exchange insurance information.

But many are worried about what will happen when there's no "official" presence.

"There will be a lot of [people] leaving the scene of accidents since I guess it's not a crime anymore," said Gene Mistretta.

Another common question includes, what authority, if any, do you have when dealing with a crash in traffic.

"[Can] I make people stay and write a witness report? What if I get hit by another car while I do so? Is Metro liable for my injuries?" asked Sharon Benson.

"This leaves the process of accident reporting open to abuse," said Raquel Lopez-Wallace.

Insurance agents said if you do get into an accident, the best idea is to document everything: get the driver's name, address, phone number, driver's license number, make and model of the car and a license plate number.

If possible, you should also avoid moving your car before you begin taking photos.

You then have 10 days to report a crash to the Department of Motor Vehicles and fill out the SR-1 form, which is then sent to your insurance company.

While this is new to Las Vegas, other major metropolitan areas already do this, including San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Despite that, plenty of people have an opinion on the topic. Here are a few comments from our Facebook page:

  • "And just who gets to decided if it is 'just' a fender bender?" asked Linda Hodges.
  • "If you thought road rage was a problem before, get ready," said Breanna Farley Reyes.
  • "Sometimes injuries don't appear 'til the next day," said Jennifer Manning. "My insurance company will not be happy about my medical claims if I have no police report."
  • "This is not good!" said Jaz Klinski. "When you're involved in an accident, even a "minor" collision where nobody APPEARS to be hurt… the shock of collision can cause people to not be able to think clearly. Having a police officer there to assess the situation, calm down the people involved, and write out a clear objective accident report does wonders for clarity…Often the people involved don't realize all of what they experienced. This is a big disservice to the people of Las Vegas!"
  • "Sounds good. The police need to be responding to the robbery and domestic violence calls , not little fender benders when there's only a scratch or a bump," said Tyanna Giancola.

Have something to add? Join the conversation on Facebook.

8 News Now will have continuing coverage on this story tonight at 4, 5 and 6.

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