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Cops can speed to traffic jams
New rules: Police can rush to accidents causing traffic jams. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

Police will be allowed to speed and use lights and sirens to reach vehicle crashes causing traffic jams under measures aimed at easing congestion on roads.

Accidents causing congestion, such as those on a major road, will be classified as priority two regardless of injuries or damage so police can reach the scene quickly.

Insp. Ian Clarke said police would no longer attend the many minor crashes they were called to, saying it was often unnecessary because insurers were the only other parties that had to get involved.

Insp. Clarke said though it was understandable people were left shocked after a crash, and it was a genuine feeling for them, police were asking people to view their accident in the scheme of things and ensure they were not exaggerating the seriousness of it and diverting officers who could be used elsewhere.

"You could be depriving someone who is genuinely in need of our services, when the police officers may turn up at that crash and quite clearly see that the person did exaggerate the situation," he said.

"They've certainly wasted our time."

Drivers reporting a crash would be required to answer questions from call takers as part of a vetting process.

Motorists involved in minor accidents would be asked to try to move their own vehicle off the road and exchange details with the other driver before reporting the accident online.

"If it is a minor crash and no one has any injuries, we're asking people to get off the road and allow traffic to start flowing again," Insp. Clarke said.

The new policy will also result in increased co-operation from the Main Roads traffic operations centre to assist in quickly identifying crash hotspots.

Police will continue to respond in cases where their immediate aid is needed, where there are significant safety issues or when there is criminality involved, such as drink-driving.

Police have been called to about 13,000 calls for assistance this year from those involved in road accidents.

A specialist tactical sergeant is now based at the Police Operations Centre in Midland, where 000 and 131 444 calls are received, to help co-ordinate the deployment of traffic officers.