Law enforcement agencies are first responders for traffic accidents. They respond to accidents 24 hours a day to make accident scenes safer and protect people who have been involved in accidents. Law enforcement services at car accidents include:
- Securing the accident scene: Police officers secure the scene of an accident with flares and other devices to indicate to other motorists that they should avoid the area. They may also block the accident area with a squad car. This keeps everyone involved in the accident safer, helping other drivers avoid crashing into the disabled vehicles. Police presence also helps to safeguard personal property at the accident. If it’s possible for disabled vehicles to be moved off the road or to the shoulder, police officers will help facilitate the move.
- Checking on drivers and passengers involved in the crash: Police will provide emergency medical aid to drivers and passengers involved in the accident. They will also evaluate them for drunk driving or drug use.
- Facilitating medical care: If LifeFlight rescue is needed for any drivers or passengers, police officers will clear a landing zone so that paramedics can reach the victim.
- Accident investigation: Police officers will gather evidence related to the crash scene. They will record information including vehicle, driver, and insurance information. The officer will also take measurements and photos as well as statements from drivers, passengers, and witnesses. They will record evidence including tire marks, vehicle parts, broken glass, and patterns of damage on the vehicles. This evidence is used to reconstruct accident scenes and determine who is at fault.
- Directing traffic and clearing the accident scene: Officers will assist with clearing the scene, helping tow truck drivers and fire department vehicles navigate the accident scene and get out of the traffic area. They will direct traffic to help other motorists move smoothly around the accident scene without interference.