If you are involved in a crash, you must stop and assist those who are injured.
Crash investigations are conducted by the local Crash Inquiry Section in the police district where the crash occurred.
NOTE: a serious crash refers to life threatening injuries, not vehicle damage.
Major crash investigations
The investigating police officer at the scene of a fatal or serious crash will require a blood sample from a driver, or suspected driver, where the police officer reasonably believes that their vehicle:
- By its presence has occasioned a suspected serious injury or death; or
- By its use has been an immediate or proximate cause of a suspected serious injury or death.
This is in accordance with section 66 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 and irrespective of who is at fault or any level of driver culpability.
Crash enquiry details: Major Crash Investigation Section (MCIS) is generally not aware of minor crash details or investigations.
MCIS provides a specialist service investigating fatal and serious injury crashes statewide, where a criminal charge is likely. MCIS do not investigate all fatal crashes.
Fatal crash investigations are conducted on behalf of the State or District Coroner, depending on where the crash occurred.
How long can an investigation take?
Many major crash investigations are extremely complex. All avenues of investigation are exhausted before charges are preferred. This can take several months depending on the particular circumstances of the incident being investigated.
For instance many forensic samples are obtained that require time consuming analysis. Identifying, locating and interviewing witnesses can also be an exhaustive process, and often involves tracing witnesses all over the state, interstate and overseas. In many cases offenders and witnesses are seriously injured and cannot be interviewed for several months after a crash.
Major crash investigations also require numerous expert reports which could include medical and post mortem reports, vehicle examinations, crash reconstructions, pharmacology, and fatigue profiles, all of which take time to obtain.
It is not until the crash investigation (and if appropriate, any court case) is complete, that a report is then forwarded to the Coroner, to determine the cause of death.
MCIS also investigates police crashes or crashes associated with police action, which result in death or serious injury to any person. Internal Affairs oversees these investigations.
Vehicle Investigation Unit
The Vehicle Investigation Unit (VIU) provides a statewide investigation and examination of vehicles involved in serious or fatal crashes.
The VIU helps determine whether a vehicle's mechanical condition was a contributing factor in the cause of a fatal or serious crash. They also prepare and present expert evidence in court on their findings.
The VIU prepares a full report on the vehicle's condition and highlights what may have contributed to the cause of the crash.