Having a fender bender in a parking lot is never a great experience. If you have insurance and you’re going to need your bumper repaired from the minor accident, you’ll need a crash report number to go with that claim. Generally, you get crash report numbers by filing an accident report at the nearest police station, and you have 48 hours to complete this process. You’re busy, you have so many things to do and this is urgent though incredibly time-consuming, it should be able to be done online.
Online for the win
And now it is, you can report minor accidents and obtain a crash report number online and free of charge via a legally binding system on the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS) website. The new system completely removes the admin of having to physically visit a police station, and generates an automated crash report number (CRN) that can be used for insurance purposes.
Minor accident: online accident report vs going to the police station
You have 24 hours to fill an online accident report, or the next working day if it occurred on a weekend or public holiday. If the crash involved more than five cars, anyone was injured, killed or a victim of a hit-and-run you can’t use the online platform to obtain a crash report number, this needs to be done in person at the police station.
Crash Report Number
Once the accident is logged the system will automatically generate a CRN for insurance claims. The information you provide on the online platform can be made available to your insurance provider should they request it. The reporting of the accident is free; though you could be charged to access the data at a later stage, so remember to save the PDF at the end.
The website is easy to navigate, it starts with selection boxes to tick regarding the type of accident; from there you enter your personal details and proceed through the process. The system will link reported accidents to each other via the use of number plates and details, so remember to get the number plate details and other driver’s details.
Once you’ve submitted your crash report you’ll get a receipt of submission along with a PDF that can be downloaded or emailed as proof of submission to yourself. Your CRN can be emailed or sent via SMS to you.
Run out of time
If your time was occupied so that you could not reasonably have filled in forms online to generate an online CRN you may provide supporting evidence why you could not submit the report in time. You can go into the nearest police station to get a CRN, though SAPS reserves the right to fine you for not reporting on time, as it is a legal offence.
If you realise that you need to change your report you can go to SAPS and complete the official Accident Report document accompanied by an affidavit stating why you are changing the information.
And that is how we like to see technology being used to make admin easier.