Saturday, August 1, 2009

Finding Fault...

I have a personal rule when I'm investigating traffic collisions.

I never discuss fault with the drivers at the scene.

Too many times I have told a driver that I was going to find them at fault only to have that person tie me up for an extra twenty minutes arguing their case for why the other driver was at fault.

I base my decision for fault on a number of factors some drivers are not capable of understanding. I listen to and evaluate the statements of all drivers, passengers and witnesses. I examine any physical evidence I locate at the scene, including tire friction marks, vehicle damage, debris fields, points of rest of the vehicles, etc. I look at road, weather and traffic conditions at the time of the collision. After all of this, I sometimes haven't even assigned fault before I leave the scene. I may have to go back to the station and review the appropriate vehicle code sections, or do some fairly complex math to determine fault.

My determination of fault will be included in my written report, of which anyone involved in the collision is entitled to obtain a copy. If you want to know who I'm finding at fault, get a copy of the report.

And when you get the report and see I found you at fault, don't come to the station with a diagram and try to argue the point, and don't leave me a voice mail telling me you disagree with my determination.

I won't return your call...

7 comments:

The Dispatcher and Her Officer said...

I usually do that as well. And for the same reasons. But I will always send a little "at fault letter" to the party who is determined at fault, along with any accompanying notices to appear fir violations of the vehicle code. -Officer

Texas Ghostrider said...

The majority of the scenes I use to make, I found fault at the scene and policy said we write a citation. I had a speech down and recited it even when they were interupting, something to the effect of "this is not a plead of guilty but sign at the x indicating you will show up in court".

The major injuries or death, nothing was discussed at the scene do to the intense investigation that follows.

Front Porch Society said...

What Texas Ghostrider wrote about citations on the scene is the same practice up here, as well. Along with the whole "this is not a plea of guilty but a promise to appear in court" speech.

2 wheel terror said...

Sometimes when it's very obvious who's at fault and it was caused by a head up ass driver, I'll get party 1's information for my collision report on a citation at the scene. Although in most cases when I do issue a citation to the party at fault I'll fill out a declaration to the court, attach the citation with it to my collision report where the party at fault will receive their copy through the mail.

1 point for the collision, 1 point for the violation which caused the collision, ain't no such thing called a "traffic accident".

MotorCop said...

2WT...hmmm, I wonder where I learned that approach from.

Sometimes, I just can't resist poking the bear in the zoo, though and let P-1 know they'll be receiving a cite in the mail.

Officer "Smith" said...

I'll usually issue cites for insurance, driver's license, or that type of violation at the scene, but it they're getting one for the PCF, they get it in the mail.

Never yet had one take me to court either...

Officer "Smith" said...

Bugger off Woycechowsky.