Review of Vehicle Collision Reporting Damage Threshold
IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT Alberta Municipalities advocate for the Government of Alberta to engage stakeholders and review the $2,000 collision reporting damage threshold to reflect current repair costs, while reducing red tape and administrative work for municipal police departments.
WHEREAS the Alberta Government has mandated that all collisions with combined damage over $2000 must be reported and that all autobody shops are required by the Alberta Government to have a damage sticker that can only be issued by a police force in order to repair the vehicle;
WHEREAS motor vehicle collisions are among the top ten calls for service to municipal police departments and the work involved in managing these collisions is extensive;
WHEREAS the cost to repair a vehicle has increased, especially newer vehicles which have complex technology and require more parts to repair; and
WHEREAS the majority of collisions occurring in the province are property damage only and most will require a damage sticker.
According to Alberta Traffic Collision Statistics, out of the 95,001 collisions that occurred in our province in 2020, over 90 per cent were categorized as property damage only (PDO). (1) Due to a provincial requirement in sections 146 and 147 of the Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation under the Traffic Safety Act, if the combined damage to all vehicles and any property involved is over $2,000, a collision report must be filed with police. A damage sticker will be issued which allows for repairs to be completed. With the increasingly high cost for vehicle repairs, nearly all PDO collisions will require reporting, using significant police officer and support staff resources.
A report released in March 2023 by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), outlined that due to inflation, the price of vehicle and automotive parts had increased by 13 per cent in the last two years. Cost pressures are further magnified by increases in the price and availability of labour to undertake repair work. While the cost of replacement parts for older vehicles has increased making them more expensive to repair, newer vehicles have complex technology and require more parts to repair. The cost to repair vehicles on the road today has increased dramatically over the last few years. The IBC report compares the cost to repair a Toyota RAV4 bumper on models from 2017 and 2022. The number of parts required and total cost more than doubled. (2)
A Collision Cost Study Update prepared for the Edmonton Capital Region Intersection Safety Partnership (CRISP) in 2018 offered estimates on the average cost of damage to vehicles in the Capital Region during the time of the study. The report concluded that the average cost of vehicle repairs in a PDO collision was $9,130. (3)
At the RCMP detachment in the City of Airdrie, almost every collision results in the requirement to be reported to obtain a damage sticker. In 2022, 3,030 collisions were reported to the Airdrie RCMP detachment.
The demand on RCMP officers and support staff is significant. Officer time to review damage and issue a damage sticker so that repairs can be completed, along with support staff follow-up to photocopy statements, prepare requests from law offices for collision details, assist the driver with paperwork, enter the data into two databases and manage any errors of submissions, takes a great deal of time and resources.
The amount of administrative work surrounding this reporting has led cities such as Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat to direct reporting of PDO collisions and the issuing of damage stickers to a third-party collision reporting centre. A 2022 collision reporting centre pilot project in Edmonton was offered at no additional cost to police or the public. Whether reporting to a public or private entity, the $2,000 damage threshold remains for all PDO collisions.
Other provinces have different reporting structures. For example, in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Manitoba, only collisions involving injury, death, criminal offence, towing or an out of province vehicle, require reporting to the police. BC also requires a police report if a vehicle has sustained more than $10,000 in damage. All of these provinces operate under a provincial insurance model.
The Province of Ontario, similar to Alberta, has legislation that requires collisions resulting in property damage of $2,000 or more be reported immediately to an authorized peace officer.
Alberta’s collision damage threshold increased from $1,000 to $2,000 on January 1, 2011. Prior to the change, the threshold had not changed in almost 20 years. (4)