0640.50 Traffic Crash Investigations

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
Policy number
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  • ORS 801.400 Premises Open to the Public, defined
  • ORS 810.460 Officer’s Crash Report; Use
  • ORS 810.470 Forwarding Crash Reports to DMV
  • ORS 811.720 Traffic Crash Reporting Requirements
  • DIR 630.05 Vehicle Pursuits
  • DIR 630.31 Assisting Motorists
  • DIR 630.60 Vehicle Disposition
  • DIR 640.54 Prisoner/Suspect Damage to City Property
  • DIR 761.00 Hazardous Material Incidents
  • DIR 860.10 Traffic Citations and Arrests
  • DIR 1010.10 Deadly Physical Force
  • Oregon Police Traffic Crash Report (Traffic)
  • Oregon Traffic Collision and Insurance Report (Traffic)
  • Report of Automobile Collision or Loss (City)
  • Traffic Crash Exchange Form (Traffic)
  • Uniform Traffic Citation and Summons (Traffic)

PROCEDURE (640.50)

Directive Specific Definitions

Fatal vehicle crash: A traffic crash that causes the death of one or more persons.

Non-traffic crash: A vehicle crash that occurs on private property or premises that is not open to the public.

Potential fatal crash: A traffic crash that produces critical injuries that are likely to result in death as determined by EMS personnel.

Traffic crash: Any unintentional crash involving a motor vehicle and another vehicle, person or object, originating on a public highway or on premises open to the public, which results in property damage, personal injury or death. Incidents involving structured training exercises (i.e., In-service, Advanced Academy, etc.) through the Training Division (Training) or Traffic Division (Traffic) are not classified as traffic crashes.

Vulnerable road users: A person such as a pedestrian, highway worker, person riding an animal or a person operating a farm tractor, a skateboard, roller skates, in-line skates, scooter, or a bicycle on a public way, crosswalk or shoulder of the highway.

Investigation Criteria (640.50)

Members will investigate the following types of crashes. This investigation will include completing an Oregon Police Crash Report.

a. Fatal crashes.

b. Physical injuries with entry into the Regional Trauma System by on-scene EMS personnel.

c. Accidents involving physical injury to vulnerable road users where the vulnerable road user is transported by ambulance.

d. Drivers who are under the influence of intoxicants.

e. Drivers that fail to perform the duties required of them at the scene of a traffic crash (hit and run).

f. Hazardous material spills: Members should determine if a trained motor carrier officer is on duty from Traffic or other precincts to assist in the investigation.

g. An emergency code run by the police, whether or not a police vehicle was involved.

h. Members will disposition the call with the following new codes instead of R1. Use RV if vehicle only involved, RP if pedestrian involved (including wheelchairs), and RB if bicycle involved.

i. When a citation is issued to a driver involved in a crash for a violation other than a vehicle licensing, operator licensing or financial responsibility statute.

Deliberate police action using pursuit intervention techniques such as PIT or spike strips are not considered traffic crashes and do not need to be reported as such.

Trauma Injury and Non-Injury Crashes (640.50)

a. BOEC Responsibilities:

1. Dispatch the nearest precinct uniformed member to the scene of a traffic crash.

2. Dispatch a Traffic member, if requested.

b. Member Responsibilities:

1. Members will treat all crashes as potential crime scenes.

2. Upon arrival at a crash scene, members will determine if the crash must be investigated (see investigative criteria 640.50). If the crash is a fatal or potential fatal, the member will notify a precinct supervisor as soon as possible (these types of fatal crashes will be investigated per the Fatal and Potential Fatal section, 640.50).

3. Members will investigate all other crashes that meet the investigative criteria and are encouraged to investigate crashes that do not. At a minimum, for crashes that do not meet the investigation criteria, members will:

a) Make every effort to provide assistance and information to involved persons. This includes completing and issuing copies of a Traffic Exchange Report to involved parties.

b) Check all drivers for warrants, driving privileges, proof of insurance and registration violations.

c) Cite violators when feasible.

4. If involved parties have been transported to a hospital prior to the members arrival, the member will consult with on-scene EMS, or BOEC, if EMS has left the scene, to determine if the crash is a fatal crash or if any person will be entered into the regional trauma system.

5. If an investigation is required, the member may request a Traffic member respond to investigate. If a Traffic member is unavailable, the member will investigate and complete the Oregon Police Crash Report.

6. If the crash does not need to be investigated, and it is not feasible to do so, the member will assist the involved drivers as needed and facilitate clearing the scene of debris and vehicles.

7. Members are reminded that a complete Traffic Crash report will include statements from drivers, passengers and witnesses involved. It should also include documentation of injuries, if known, obtained in accordance with applicable laws. Members will obtain this information by interviewing the involved persons at the hospital if necessary. Follow-up visits to the hospital are required to obtain statements if the injured person cannot initially respond to the member’s inquiries due to the severity of their injuries.

Potential Fatal and Fatal Vehicle Crashes (640.50)

a. Member Responsibilities:

1. Secure the crash scene and treat it as a crime scene.

2. Advise an on-duty precinct supervisor that it is a fatal or potential fatal crash.

3. Request that Forensic Evidence Division (Forensics) respond to the scene via BOEC.

4. Traffic members will complete the Oregon Police Traffic Crash Report. Other members will document information and/or evidence they collected on a Special Report and submit a copy to the investigating member before the end of their shift.

b. Precinct Supervisor Responsibilities:

1. If there are no on-duty Traffic members, the supervisor will contact the Traffic Division Major Crash Team (MCT) supervisor via BOEC and request a callout.

2. Supervisors will document information and/or evidence they collected on a Special Report and submit a copy to the investigating member before the end of their shift.

Hit & Run Crashes with Suspect/Vehicle Information (640.50)

a. BOEC Responsibilities:

1. Dispatch nearest precinct uniformed member to the scene of a hit and run crash.

2. Dispatch a Traffic member to the scene of an injury hit and run crash.

b. Member Responsibilities:

1. Complete an Oregon Police Crash Report (diagram optional).

2. Place holds on vehicle only when required to locate or identify a suspect, or to collect and preserve evidence.

3. Advise parties to wait at least 48 hours before contacting the Traffic Investigations Unit (TIU) for information.

4. Follow-up positive leads. TIU will conduct additional follow-up investigations on hit and run crashes per Traffic’s SOP.

Hit and Run Crashes without Suspect Information (640.50)

BOEC will forward to the Telephone Report Unit (TRU), all calls regarding hit and run crashes that do not involve an injury and when there is no suspect or suspect vehicle information.

Police Vehicle Crashes (640.50)

Crashes that involve Bureau owned or leased vehicles will be investigated by a Traffic member, if available, or a precinct member.

a. Involved member responsibilities:

1. Notify BOEC and a supervisor.

2. Complete the following reports:

a) Report of Automobile Collision or Loss.

b) Special Report.

c) Oregon Traffic Collision and Insurance Report, as required by ORS 811.720. The insurance information for city vehicles is:

City of Portland – Bureau of Risk Management

1120 SW 5th Ave., Room 1012

Policy # SI CERT # 25

b. Investigating member responsibilities:

1. Complete an Oregon Police Traffic Crash Report if reportable as defined in ORS 811.720.

2. Complete a special report with a diagram that captures driver information, vehicle information, insurance information, road conditions, lighting in the area, weather at the time of the crash, causal factors of the crash, contributing factors that lead to the crash, and any other relevant information that explains how, why, when and where the crash occurred.

c. Supervisor responsibilities:

1. Complete an After-Action Report for all crashes involving Bureau vehicles.

City Owned or Leased Vehicles (640.50)

Members investigating crashes involving city owned or leased vehicles within the city limits will complete the Oregon Police Traffic Crash Report if the crash is reportable as defined in ORS 811.720.

Crashes Outside the City of Portland (640.50)

Members involved in a vehicle crash outside the city limits and while driving a City owned or leased vehicle will notify a supervisor and request that the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction investigate the crash.

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