Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Richmond County deputies to stop responding to most private property traffic accidents starting Tuesday

Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 4:16 PM
Last updated Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 2:12 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

Starting Tuesday, Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies no longer will respond to most traffic accidents on private property.

“Most large agencies within the state of Georgia already handle private property accidents in this way in an effort to better utilize their limited law enforcement personnel,” Lt. Lewis Blanchard said in a news release.

The new policy forces involved parties to handle the incident themselves by exchanging information, documenting and reporting it to their insurance companies with Georgia’s SR-13 form.

Private property crashes include those that occur in residential areas, parking lots and other areas that are not considered state- or county-owned, such as roads including Gordon Highway.

In an accident, drivers are asked to turn on their hazard lights and move vehicles out of traffic to the closest location if vehicles are operational and no one is injured.

Key information to exchange includes the name, address and contact information, driver’s license number, license plate number and auto insurance information of all parties involved.

An SR-13 form, which the affected parties will forward to their insurance companies, can be provided by deputies and is available on the sheriff’s office Web site, www.RCSOGA.org.

Police say it is useful to take photos at the scene and get contact information for any key witnesses.

If an unattended vehicle is struck, the driver must make an effort to find the vehicle owner. If that person cannot be found, the driver is required to leave a note with his name, contact information and a brief description of the accident.

There are circumstances in which law enforcement will respond to an incident. Residents are asked to notify police if anyone is killed or injured and if damage to property exceeds $500.

Residents are also asked to notify police if any parties appear under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Lt. Calvin Chew said he does not anticipate any backlash from the public on the changes. Police said that the new procedure is fairly simple and that they will assist the public with any questions they have in the event of an accident.

“If people know it’s coming and it’s easy to do, then I don’t foresee any problems,” Chew said.

Deputies have been supplied with SR-13 forms. If they are dispatched to a private property accident, the deputy will issue the forms and tell the parties how information should be exchanged.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CHANGES

Exchange this information with all parties involved:

1. Name, address and contact information

2. Driver’s license number

3. License plate number

4. Auto insurance information

A state crash report by police is required if any of these charges are made:

1. Habitual violator

2. Laying drag

3. Reckless driving

4. Driving under the influence

5. Chemical tests for alcohol or drugs in blood

6. Homicide by vehicle

7. Feticide by vehicle

8. Serious injury by vehicle

9. Fleeing or attempting to elude

10. Aggressive driving

Comments (32) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Little Lamb
45867
Points
Little Lamb 09/13/13 - 04:27 pm
2
2
Good Move

This sounds like a step in the right direction. Everyone needs to print out a couple of copies of the form and store them in the glove compartment.

Fiat_Lux
15369
Points
Fiat_Lux 09/13/13 - 04:46 pm
10
0
It SOUNDS like a good idea,

and it would be nice to have things handled more quickly and easily, but it is my understanding that a police report is required to force recalcitrant insurance companies to pay up on behalf of those they insure.

deestafford
27431
Points
deestafford 09/13/13 - 05:15 pm
10
0
The damage to any vehicle today

is over $500. Do you call the police and have them come to the site or do you take the form down to the sheriff's office if it's over $500?

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 09/13/13 - 05:25 pm
11
0
Yeah, and what happens when

Yeah, and what happens when the party at fault doesn't want to give up the information and decides to go their merry way. What recourse do you have to get your vehicle repaired except to file under your own insurance which makes your premiums go up.

Riverman1
83621
Points
Riverman1 09/13/13 - 05:33 pm
7
2
Heh, heh, heh

Heh, heh, heh. Get in an accident with a "Richmond County resident" in the Target Shopping Center Parking lot and see how that works out for you.

Just My Opinion
5601
Points
Just My Opinion 09/13/13 - 07:50 pm
10
0
First off, it takes VERY

First off, it takes VERY little damage to jump over that $500 limit! Ask any bodyshop and they'll tell you the same thing. Secondly, how are you supposed to know what is a private lot? Is a school lot considered private? Wouldn't think so. How about one of the business lots used during a county-sanctioned event? I guess when in doubt, call the police and they'll be quick to tell you.
And you guys are correct...what if the other guilty party doesn't want to participate in the exchange of info because they have NO insurance. Better whip out your cellphone and start taking video, as well as pictures!

A Measured Response
72
Points
A Measured Response 09/14/13 - 02:54 am
7
0
Not So Fast ...

I'm sure that this would work some of the time, but many times it would not--I've heard the $500 limit before--who can guess that these days? Some drivers can't even speak English; drivers will always try to intimidate other drivers, ask for more info than they have a right to. Leaving the scene--that's bound to happen more now. I could see this increasing the role of 911 operators, too--they will wind up trying to advise motorists, but they aren't law enforcement.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 09/14/13 - 10:08 am
3
2
The 500 dollar limit is not

The 500 dollar limit is not LAW, it's just a suggestion. If the damage is over 500 and both parties can handle cordially, they should do so. An officer or deputy doing a private property report is NOT much different than both parties handling it themselves. Even with a report, the at fault party can allows fight the charges in court and claim they other driver was at fault. Many PP accidents happen in parking lots and one vehicle is unattended. This is one of the reasons they are beginning to handle it this way, because striking an unattended vehicle is ALWAYS your fault.

How do you tell the if it's private property? If you're not on the ROADWAY, it's going to be a private property wreck! US Hwy's, State routes, County Roads are not private property. If the collision is on the road, it requires a State accident report to be filled out.

This SHOULDN'T be that hard to understand. ATTEMPT to handle the situation cordially with the other driver; exchanging information. If the at fault driver STAYED at the scene and didn't do a "hit&run" chances are they are willing to exchange information. If they notified you that they hit your vehicle, they are probably willing to exchange insurance information. If they act aggressive or refuse to exchange information; back off and call for a deputy. If the person can't speak english, call for a deputy. If the person hit YOU but is trying to claim it's YOUR fault because you parked behind him (I've seen this); back off and call a deputy.

Good gosh people, this isn't that hard. Just TRY to handle the situation yourself at FIRST. If problems occur; give us a call and we will help. You will probably find in MOST situations it won't be that difficult. A private property accident report is NOT going to help you all that much anyway; because it all boils down to YOUR word against theirs. In private property wrecks, there usually isn't physical evidence such as skid marks, gouge marks, pan marks, etc; because the speed isn't enough. We don't do accident reconstruction on private property wrecks, sorry. So it's basically going to boil down to your testimony versus theirs and any witnesses present, get their information. It's honestly not that hard to do it yourself and when you've tried it, you'll find everyone is not going to knock your head off for asking them their information.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 09/14/13 - 07:44 am
1
0
Reduced services, pay raises, charity for K-9"s, new digs,
Unpublished

Reduced services, pay raises, charity for K-9"s, new digs,

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 09/14/13 - 07:44 am
1
0
Gives new meaning to "Protect & Serve". "Clean Up & Collect"
Unpublished

Gives new meaning to "Protect & Serve". "Clean Up & Collect"

oldredneckman96
5095
Points
oldredneckman96 09/14/13 - 07:53 am
4
3
Accidents
Unpublished

This new policy is just one more reason you need to be armed and ready to defend yourself at all times. By the time the "authorities" arrive all they can do is trace your outline on the gound. Remember, it is "We the people" not "them the police" that are the first three words of our Constutition. If you have to, shoot first, then get the needed info.

Little Lamb
45867
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/13 - 07:55 am
3
2
Common Sense

Thanks, myfather. That is some common sense advice. Here's something that puzzled me:

Private property crashes include those that occur in residential areas, parking lots and other areas that are not considered state- or county-owned.

What is Bianca Cain Johnson talking about when she says "residential areas?" What about a typical subdivision where the developer builds the roads then deeds them over to the city or county to maintain? Aren't those residential streets government owned? How is a person to find out?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 09/14/13 - 07:55 am
0
0
Insurance premiums will definitely rise. Remember No Fault.
Unpublished

Insurance premiums will definitely rise. Remember No Fault.

nocnoc
42468
Points
nocnoc 09/14/13 - 08:03 am
2
0
nocnoc
42468
Points
nocnoc 09/14/13 - 08:05 am
3
0
What about private properties clearly marked

RCSO has jurisdiction on this property?

CobaltGeorge
158146
Points
CobaltGeorge 09/14/13 - 08:22 am
1
2
GeeeeeeeeZ

What a quagmire!

Just My Opinion
5601
Points
Just My Opinion 09/14/13 - 08:57 am
5
0
myfather..you said that an

myfather..you said that an accident involving an unattended vehicle is ALWAYS your fault. I was a young driver and I was attempting to get around a vehicle that was inappropriately parked, and I clipped it! I called the campus police over and they said the owner of the car was at fault because they had parked clearly outside of the parking "box". I didn't argue!! I just got the heck out of dodge! Looking back, I'm thinking the campus police may have been wrong.
Two things to your comments..first off, thanks for the words of wisdom, because it's obvious that you know what you're talking about and you have surely educated many readers here. Secondly, you don't have to be so condescending about it. Even if you think we're a bunch of whiney dimwits, you don't have to have that attitude. If you are a policeman (thanks for your service, btw!), I sure hope you don't act that way on the job and at the scene of some accident.

Aiken Guy
5
Points
Aiken Guy 09/14/13 - 09:07 am
3
0
What?

Is this some sort of joke? How often do you think someone at fault will hang around and "exchange" information? Sounds to me like RCSO is trying to do less work.
Will it be OK to pursue someone if they flee?
Will it be OK to forcibly hold them until RCSO arrives on the scene?
Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

dichotomy
32778
Points
dichotomy 09/14/13 - 09:49 am
2
0
Hmmm, the Sheriff's web site

Hmmm, the Sheriff's web site says this on their Private Property Accident Report page: http://www.richmondcountysheriffsoffice.com/private-property-accident-re...

"REPORTING AN ACCIDENT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT IS REQUIRED BY LAW UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:
• If anyone is injured or killed as a result of the accident.
• If damage to property exceeds $500.
• If the accident occurs on a county or state roadway, highway or interstate and either party requests a police report."

It pretty well costs $500 if a body shop waves a work order over your bumper and does an incantation. And, with all due respect, I know myfather says the $500 limit is a "suggestion" but the Richmond County Sheriff's Office web site says it's THE LAW.

So, I understand what the sheriff, and myfather, are saying about "trying" to settle things yourself, but if THE LAW requires a report if the damage is $500 or more, why am I being expected to do an instant analysis of a body repair that a trained professional needs a drawing, notes, a computer system, parts manuals, paint charts, and a half an hour labor to do. And we all know about that "hidden damage" that they always fail to catch on the initial estimate.

It's confusing and leaves you thinking that no matter what you do YOU will be wrong. You may be wrong with the sheriff and get chewed out by the dispatcher if you DO CALL, or you may be wrong with the LAW if the damage turns out to be MORE THAN $500 and you DON'T CALL. And you WILL PROBABLY be wrong with your insurance company who, oh by the way, will be the first to asked you for the POLICE accident report.

So read the law and get real guys. A tail light assembly cost's $300 nowadays and labor is $100 or more an hour, 1 hour minimum. Throw in 8% TAX and the other hidden "shop fees" and "environmental BS" and IT ALWAYS COSTS MORE THAN $500. Call the cops. IT'S THE LAW.

RCresident
5
Points
RCresident 09/14/13 - 10:03 am
3
0
Not sure what police academy

Not sure what police academy someone went to but actually the $500 figure IS the law. You are legally REQUIRED to notify law enforcement. Pick up an OCGA book every now and again.

mooseye
266
Points
mooseye 09/14/13 - 10:12 am
0
1
It can still

cut down on leo time on the scene. I would just call one in every case and let them be the one to tell you to handle it with or without a report being done. Problem solved.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 09/14/13 - 10:15 am
3
0
Little lamb

Residential areas means actual residences, which are private property. If you have a BBQ and someone backs into your car in the yard, it's a private property crash. If it happens in the roadway of your subdivision, it's USUALLY a County maintained road, with a green Street sign. Look on the green street sign at the bottom; if it says CR102, that means County Road #102 and designates this an official County maintained road.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 09/14/13 - 10:19 am
3
1
Just my opinion

Thank you; and I apologize for being condescending. It certainly wasn't meant for those on here asking legitimate questions and I didn't mean to come off that way. It was meant for the couple on here who appear to be intentionally degrading the Sheriff's Office for NOT doing their jobs. There are many "jobs" we do that citizens can and should take care of themselves. Simply attempting to do so; will prove to many people that it isn't as hard as they think and frees up deputies for more serious violations of the law. I could sit here all day and answer just about every question people have, but it would take forever!!

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 09/14/13 - 10:40 am
2
1
RCresident

The law also, in many cases; requires common sense. Are you a professional body mechanic? Can you do a accurate estimate to the damage of a vehicle at the scene? Well, neither can I and neither can most people. So, if you can't then you've got to make a reasonable judgement call whether the damage is over $500; which means it's a suggestion or estimate itself. Yes, I agree with many who've stated on here that it doesn't take much now days to make $500.00 damage. But many laws also read you KNEW or SHOULD HAVE KNOWN; which a reasonable person can understand.

If you back into someone's car and leave a small scratch on the bumper; then you and the other person decide NOT to report it to law enforcement, you will not be in trouble! If you're doing 30 mph through the Best Buy parking lot and slam another vehicle, causing major damage and THEN you don't report it; you might have issues with the law. Why? Because if you've cause MAJOR damage to other's vehicle and promise to take care of it, then don't; you need to be held accountable by LAW. For the smaller case's of minor damage, the accountability can be done in small claims civil court because it's NOT a major issue. Someone losing their entire vehicle IS a major issue!!

It shouldn't be hard for a reasonable person to decide whether there is major or minor damage. Most private property wrecks are minor because of low speed; but some have had moderate damage, such as doors caved in and unable to open. BUT, certainly if there is a question or conflict between the two parties, give law enforcement a call. All they are saying is TRY to hanlde it yourself. But some people on here have went ballistic; belittling the job law enforcement does because they simply want people to try and hanlde minor things themselves.

You simply can't understand with a city the size of Augusta and all the businesses there; how many calls like this we get tied up on. Then our response time to domestics, robberies, burglaries, etc; are delayed because a deputy from another beat has to respond from greater distances. Bottom line is; on something like this which should be minor; if you need us, call us; if you can handle it cordially then do so and you will be fine.

Here is a good link:
http://www.dmv.com/ga/georgia/auto-accidents

allhans
23619
Points
allhans 09/14/13 - 12:35 pm
0
0
.

.

allhans
23619
Points
allhans 09/14/13 - 12:30 pm
1
0
Should be lots of utube

Should be lots of utube material.

Cameron Poe
872
Points
Cameron Poe 09/14/13 - 12:47 pm
2
0
I see nothing wrong with

I see nothing wrong with this. Seems to me if you want to nitpick it to death of course you are going to find every flaw. Looks like a plan to allow citizens to peacefully handle minor situations themselves while allowing our police to police the real crimes. How many times have folks on here said the police need to be out policing the "real" crimes? Seems to me they are trying to do just that and many are complaining. Guess you can't win for losing sometimes.

And very well said myfather. I too appreciate all the clarification you provided.

Little Lamb
45867
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/13 - 12:57 pm
0
0
Keep up with the times.

As several have said here, the $500 threshold for involving the police kicks in even for small collisions. When the legislature wrote this law that said you have to report a crash to police if the damage is over $500, it was probably decades ago. They need to build in inflation factors so that the amount goes up with inflation. Yesterday's $500 is today's $2,500.

Little Lamb
45867
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/13 - 01:01 pm
0
0
Stop Signs

I know this is a bit off-topic, but since myfather is reading this thread perhaps he'll come back in and enlighten us on this thing that has bothered me for years:

What's the deal with stop signs in store parking lots? I know the parking lot is private property, but many of them have put up official, octagonal, red stop signs. Is it legal to run said signs on private property? Or, to put it another way, can a policeman (on or off duty) write a moving violation ticket for someone driving through a private parking lot stop sign?

Sweet son
10341
Points
Sweet son 09/14/13 - 02:10 pm
0
0
Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs