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Police to start laying charges at Collision Reporting Centre

Move stems from complaints that too many people in the wrong were getting away with it

Guelph Police have begun issuing provincial offence notices for at-fault collisions reported through the Collision Reporting Centre.

Police were receiving complaints from the public that certain at-fault drivers weren't being held accountable when they reported collisions through the Clair Road Collision Reporting Centre, the 160 Clair Rd. facility where drivers go to report relatively minor collisions.

In response, the Guelph Police traffic division did a review of October's paperwork and found that 45 per cent of those collisions could have resulted in Highway Traffic Act charges.

Const. Mike Gatto of the Guelph Police said police will review paperwork, photos and witness statements gathered by civilian staff at the Collision Reporting Centre, or attend the reporting if both sides are there, and determine if a charge needs to be laid.

They are in regard to Highway Traffic Act charges, not criminal code charges, and involve accidents with over $2,000 damage that occurred on a roadway.

"In most cases it will be done where it's pretty obvious that charges be laid," Gatto said.

Collisions being reported to the collision centre that occurred on private property do not result in charges because the Highway Traffic Act does not apply to private property, Gatto said.

He said there are also no charges for damage under $2,000 no matter who is at fault.

The Collision Reporting Centre is a private service that exists due to a partnership between the Guelph Police Service and Accident Support Services International (ASSI) that allows drivers to report certain collisions.

"Since the beginning of this partnership, numerous motor vehicle collisions have been reported to the Collision Reporting Centre. Recently, members of the community have expressed concern that the “at fault” drivers who are reporting their collisions to the Collision Reporting Centre are not being held accountable for their bad driving behavior," said Guelph Police in a press release.