Traffic crimes happening right now
If you witness traffic crime which is posing a serious and immediate threat or emergency then you can call triple zero (000). If it’s a non-emergency crime then you can call the Police Assistance line on 131 444.
Emergency crimes would be:
- Road rage incidences where someone is in danger or has been injured
- A person is driving extremely dangerously
- An accident has occurred and you suspect the driver is affected by alcohol or drugs
Non-emergency crimes and situations you can report on the Police Assistance line are:
- Continuous erratic driving
- Non-injury crashes
- Breakdowns if a vehicle is blocking the lane or is in a dangerous place
- Obstructions on the road or trapped animals (e.g. a frightened roo on the central reservation of a busy motorway)
- Another driver crashes into a stationary vehicle, fence, tree, etc
If you can take the details of the person and vehicle then you can use this form to report a non-emergency traffic offence later. You can supply a huge amount of detail including photos and a detailed description of what happened, the people involved, and the vehicle details. Types of offences would be:
- Excessive speeding
- Driving slowly and blocking other drivers (lane-hogging, etc)
In other situations, such as if you witness an unsafe load being transported, then you will have to use your judgement as to whether it poses an immediate threat to other road users.
If you’re feeling particularly vitriolic then you can report a car on Dob a Driver.
Using a mobile phone to report a driver
Unlike in New Zealand, it doesn’t seem that the NSW make an exception for hand-held mobile phone use while reporting dangerous driving or an emergency. The rules for when and how you can use a mobile phone are here.
Reporting crashes and accidents
If you are involved in a crash, you don’t need to wait at the scene until Police arrive, even if a tow truck is required. This legislation change was made to help improve road safety, i.e. it gets vehicles off the crash scene sooner and allows police to manage crash sites more effectively.
In most circumstances where one or more vehicles has to be towed away from an accident, the police won’t investigate unless the circumstances warrant it, but they will retain the discretion to investigate and lay charges. You must still report the accident to them, though. If you believe there was reckless or dangerous driving involved then you can report it to the police and they will investigate as normal.
When must police attend an accident?
- If one or more people are injured
- If one or more people are trapped in a vehicle
- If anyone who was driving appears to be affected by alcohol or drugs
- If anyone who was driving refuses to give details
- If there are traffic hazards, e.g. a power pole was knocked into the road
- If traffic needs to be directed
- If one or more of the drivers or passengers is acting aggressively or violently
- If a bus or truck needs to be towed away
- If you suspect that one or more of the drivers is either uninsured or unlicenced
If police aren’t required to attend you are responsible for exchanging insurance details and organising for your vehicle to be removed if it’s incapacitated. Once your vehicle is removed you must report it to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. You can also call that line if you need assistance. Your insurance company will help establish fault.