Car crashes in Mahwah have met the 21st Century.
The Mahwah Police Department is one of a handful of agencies in the state that has moved its accident reporting process online, Police Chief Jim Batelli announced this week.
The township council voted last month to OK the MPD to sign on to the Lexis Nexis eCrash reporting system, which allows police officers to log accident reports online, and residents to purchase the reports online. According to Batelli, the system will be a welcome upgrade to the department’s current manual method.
“In the past, accident reports [were] written by hand by officers at the scene of an accident, and then typed by clerical staff, reviewed, entered into a CAD system and within 5-7 days made available to motorists,” Batelli explained. “The new system captures all data elements electronically right at the accident scene and stores the data in a secure database. The system also allows reports to be digitized.”
He added, “the previous system involved manual processing, outdated record storage and retrieval practices, inefficient delivery of reports and legacy technology that hindered efficiency.”
The township signed up to use the Lexis Nexis system for free, which Batelli said will cut administrative costs.
“Mahwah taxpayers [will see] improved and efficient technology without any tax dollars being used,” he said. “It relieves employees of tasks so that they can increase administrative efficiency and focus on other tasks.”
Residents, lawyers, and insurance companies looking to download the e-reports will need to pay for them. But, according to Batelli, the cost to download a report is relatively low, around $7 per report.
Residents who wish to pick up accident reports at the police station can continue to do so for $0.50 per report. The more expensive online versions typically cater to lawyers or insurance companies who previously would have had to travel to Mahwah Police Headquarters to pick up reports, Batelli said.
According to Lexis Nexis, residents who purchase reports can view them online for up to a year after the accident. Law enformcement agencies can access the data anytime, and can also search accident reports and vehicle histories using the online system.
Locals can access the new online accident reporting tool via a link on the Mahwah Police Department website.