What is the difference between the preliminary radio (“unofficial”) crash reports available online and the “official” accident investigation report?
The information you receive is from a radio accident report given to the troop when a road trooper has investigated an injury or fatal motor vehicle accident. After completing the initial investigation at the scene, the trooper calls the troop headquarters (via radio) and gives the dispatch center the preliminary information concerning the accident (date, time, location, injured parties involved, types of vehicles involved, and initial indication of causative factors of the accident). Since the trooper has not completed the investigation at the time the radio report is given to the troop dispatch center, it is classified as an “unofficial” report. After the accident investigation and the official report have been completed, information obtained may require the “unofficial” report to be changed (as reported in the radio report).
How does someone obtain a copy of the official accident investigation report?
When a person wants a copy of a motor vehicle accident report, which is investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the person makes a request to any of the nine troop headquarters or the Traffic Division at GHQ. Motor vehicle accidents investigated by other police agencies are referred to that agency. Currently, copies of the reports are not released until after 60 days of the motor vehicle accident, unless the requester is a party involved in the accident, an attorney, an insurance company with an insured party involved, a member of the media, etc. Effective August 28, 2004, the sixty day waiting period will no longer exist since the legislature passed a bill last session that eliminates this restriction.
How much does the official report cost?
Currently, copies of motor vehicle accident reports for crashes cost $4. Those for 1996 and before are archived and require microfilm searches.
The cost of MSHP reconstruction accident reports vary (these are detailed accident reports completed after the Major Crash Investigation Team has scientifically reconstructed the crash). Reconstruction reports include a detailed technical report, photographs, scale diagram, etc.
What information is contained in the official accident report?
The standard four-page accident investigation report includes the following information: Accident Classification (property damage, injury, fatal); accident date and time; investigation date and whether investigated at the scene; officer notification time; accident location (county, municipal, on roadway and distance from nearest intersecting street or road; designation of road maintained by (state, county, municipal, private property, other); damage to property other than vehicles with owner’s name and address; driver information (name, address, driver license number, license type, CDL qualified, motorcycle endorsement); insurance information (proof of insurance presented, insurance company name, policy number); vehicle information (color, year, make, model, vehicle identification number, vehicle owner name and address); total number of occupants in each vehicle; vehicle damage (point of initial impact, damage done to vehicle, and if towed, where towed); names, addresses, and telephone numbers of witnesses; collision diagram; a designation as to whether evidentiary photographs were taken and if the crash was reconstructed; information on all vehicle occupants (name, address, telephone number, date of birth, gender, seat location, injury information, ejection designation, whether transported for medical treatment, air bag deployment, and whether a safety device was used); vehicle body types (passenger car, sport utility vehicle, farm implement, ATV, pick-up, truck tractor, etc.); emergency vehicle involvement (police, fire, ambulance, other); hazardous materials; accident type (on/off roadway, collision involving animal, pedalcycle, fixed object, other object, pedestrian, train, another motor vehicle, etc., and whether vehicle overturned, head-on crash, sideswipe, rear end, backed into, or hit at an angle, etc.); traffic conditions (normal, accident ahead, congestion ahead); vehicle action/sequence of events (going straight, overtaking, turning, skidding, slowing, stopping, parked, changing lanes, jackknife, equipment failure, separation of units, etc.); probable contributing circumstances (vehicle defect, traffic control inoperable or missing, improperly stopped on roadway, speed, too fast for conditions, following too close, wrong way on one-way street, failed to yield, alcohol, drugs, physical impairment, inattention, etc.); pedestrian involvement; vision obscurity; light conditions; traffic control devices present; weather conditions; road character (straight, curve, level, grade, hillcrest); road conditions (dry, wet, snow, ice, standing water, etc.); road surface type (concrete, asphalt, brick, gravel, etc.); commercial motor vehicle information (ICC number, placard number, gross combined vehicle weight ratio, and cargo body type); narrative statement by the investigating officer; and written or verbal statements of involved parties or witnesses.