Reporting an Auto Accident in Philadelphia

*Accidents with Vehicle Damage Only No Longer Require Police Response

Effective May 3, 2010, auto accidents in which minimal damage occurs for involved vehicles will no longer require police to respond to the scene of the accident. Drivers involved in these types of accidents, such as fender benders, will not have to wait for police to physically respond to the scene of an accident. Drivers can report these accidents in person, or on the phone, to police personnel in the district in which the accident occurred.

Drivers should continue to call 911, and do so immediately if there is any personal injury requiring an emergency response. The Philadelphia Police Department’s 911 emergency call takers will continue to assist drivers involved in an auto accident.

Minor accidents no longer requiring police response to the scene include:

  • There are no personal injuries, and no damage to physical property surrounding the accident, such as commercial, residential or government-owned property (damage is associated with vehicles only)
  • All vehicles may continue to be driven safely from the scene of the accident
  • All drivers remain at the scene of the accident and agree to exchange owner/vehicle information

Drivers involved in minor accidents in Philadelphia should follow these steps in order to report an accident to the Philadelphia Police Department:

  • Drivers should move their cars to the side of the road, safely out of any lanes of travel, and turn on hazard lights.
  • Drivers should then call 911 emergency operators, where they will be asked a series of questions to determine whether or not police must be dispatched to the scene of the accident.
  • Once a determination is made that the drivers may report the accident in person, or on the phone, they will be given the contact information of the appropriate police district to which they can report the accident.
  • Drivers should then exchange the following owner/vehicle information with each other before leaving the scene:
    • Driver Information:
      Name, Address, Telephone Number, Driver’s License Number, Auto Insurance Company Name and Policy Number
    • Vehicle Information:
      Year, Make, Model, Color, License Plate Number and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN - located on the bottom of the driver’s side of the windshield)
  • Drivers should then report the auto accident in person or on the phone. After reporting the accident, they will receive a “District Control” (DC) number, or accident record number, and can contact their insurance carrier with the DC number.

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