15.260 - Collision Investigations

Effective Date: 05/07/2019


1. SECTOR-Trained Officers Complete an E-Collision Form to Document Collision Investigations, As Appropriate

See 15.380 - SECTOR

2. Officers Take Collision Reports for All Mandatory Reportable Collisions

Officers report all accidents that occur on a “highway” (SMC 11.14.245), “roadway” (SMC 11.14.530) or “way open to the public” (SMC 11.14.715), and there is:

- Injury or death of any person

- Damage to the property of any one person to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more

- A hit-and-run is involved

- Enforcement action is taken against one or more of the parties involved

- The collision resulted in the release of hazardous material

- The operator of any involved vehicle is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Officers only complete a Washington State Police Traffic Collision Report (PTCR) or E-Collision form for collisions meeting the criteria above.

- Officers complete a sketch of the accident scene.

Officers provide a Report Number to the involved parties to include their name and serial number. Involved parties are referred to the Public Request Unit to obtain a copy of the collision report.

3. Officers May Assist Motorists in Non-Reportable Collisions

Officers may provide the Exchange of Traffic Collision Information (form 5.9) to facilitate the exchange of information between motorists.

Officers complete a Report if either party in a non-reportable collision requests a report.


Officers provide a State of Washington Motor Vehicle Collision Report to motorists who request a report in non-reportable collisions.

4. Officers Take Enforcement Action in Reportable Non-Felony Collision Investigations

Officers issue a Criminal Citation or Notice of Infraction to the involved party.

Exception: If the collision involved a Department vehicle during an emergency response, refer to Seattle Police Manual Section 13.030 - Emergency Vehicle Operations and 13.010 - Collisions Involving Department Vehicles

5. Officers Refer Felony Collision Investigations to Traffic Collision Investigation Squad (TCIS)

Officers do not issue tickets in a felony collision investigation.

Investigations that require no TCIS response at the time of on-scene investigation, but may develop into a felony, are referred to TCIS.

6. TCIS Responds to Certain Collisions

Definition: “Serious bodily injury” means that which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily part. Special consideration should be given for a TCIS response for serious injuries to persons over 70 or under 5.

TCIS is called for any collision involving:

- Death or injury likely to cause death

- Collisions where there is probable cause for vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or hit-and-run investigations with serious bodily injury

- Collision during a police pursuit that results in serious injuries to any party

- Collisions involving City equipment with serious bodily injury

A sergeant may screen any incident with TCIS.  Officers document will document if TCIS was contacted and what direction was provided.

Officers will try to protect the scene and secure evidence.

7. Officers Impound Vehicles in Certain Collisions

Officers use a Washington State Tow/Impound Recovery form to impound vehicles when:

- Driver arrested during the investigation

- Driver injured and unable to move the vehicle

- Vehicle disabled and unable to be legally parked

Officers document the tow company, storage location, and any holds placed on the vehicle in the collision report.

Officers may only place a TCIS hold on the suspect vehicle involved in a hit-and-run investigation when these conditions are met:

- An Involved party has sustained an injury, and

- The suspect has not been identified.

See 6.120 – Impounding Vehicles.

8. Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) or Street Car Collisions Require Additional Reporting

Policy regarding mandatory reportable collisions and TCIS call out applies to LRV or street car collisions.

See 15.260-TSK-1- Officers Investigating a LRV Collision

15.260-TSK-1- Officers Investigating a LRV or Street Car Collision

When investigating and reporting a collision involving an LRV or street car and a vehicle, officers will:

1. Report collisions on a PTCR or E-Collision form

-Collisions with pedestrians are reported on a Report and not on a PTCR or E-Collision form.

2 List the LRVs or street car’s identifying number, located on the side of the coach, in the narrative. 

-Do not list the LRV or street car as either unit #1 or unit #2

3. List the LRV or street car operator as a witness. 

-Do not list the LRV or street car operator as a driver

4. Record in the narrative:

- The operator’s King County DOT Streetcar Certification card and King County Metro Insurance card.

5. List all passengers on the Collision Report, Multi-Passenger Vehicle Continuation Sheet (Form 19.4)

6. Complete a sketch of the collision.