Motor vehicle accident reporting policy change

by Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A new policy change for reporting on- and off-base motor vehicle accidents will soon take effect to improve flexibility and convenience of reporting while stressing compliance with higher headquarter guidance, Air Force Instruction requirements and German law.

U.S. forces and their dependents in the Kaiserslautern Military Community are involved in over 2,000 motor vehicle accidents every year, with many occurring off base as minor accidents.

“The new policy is more intuitive to our Airmen and their families, while enabling security forces to prioritize our efforts on mission assurance and protecting personnel,” said Maj. Nick Petren, 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron commander. “The revised accident reporting matrix provides clear guidance on a driver’s reporting responsibilities if they’re involved in an accident.”

The policy change will reflect that Airmen and their families won’t need to immediately report minor traffic accidents involving personally owned vehicles to Security Forces.

Minor accidents on base must be reported to security forces within 24 hours of the incident, and minor accidents off base must be reported within 72 hours of the incident.

A minor traffic accident is defined as an accident where nobody was injured, there was no disabling damage to vehicle(s), no government property was damaged and damages can reasonably be assumed to cost less than $10,000 to repair.

Accidents involving government owned or leased vehicles require an investigation and must still be immediately reported to security forces.  Additionally, any accident involving injuries or disabling damages to vehicles must be reported immediately to security forces.

“Due to mission requirements, the 569th USFPS will not respond to every minor traffic accidents off base in the future.

This policy change allows servicemembers to comply with German laws by exchanging information with all drivers involved in the accident before leaving the scene and then reporting to security forces within 72 hours,” said Petren. “Drivers can always call the Integrated Defense Operations Center at 0631-536-6060 with questions or to request assistance 24/7.”

Petren stresses that compliance with German law is paramount and it is all drivers’ responsibility to exchange information with other drivers involved in an accident, or they may face a fine or other legal consequences if they fail to do so. Drivers are also reminded that if they are involved in a single vehicle accident, and host nation government property such as a road sign or guardrail is damaged, they must report the accident to German police before leaving the scene by dialing 110 or 112.

A vehicle accident reporting matrix will also be available to all incoming Airmen and civilians that describes step-by-step instructions on what to do in case of an accident on-and off-base.

“Copies of the accident matrix will be available to new Airmen during the Ramstein In-Processing line as well as at the Kapaun Vehicle Registration station,” Petren

“Included is a ‘point and talk’ section in German and French to help communicate with other drivers that may not speak English.”

While the policy has relaxed, military members could still be subject to punishment under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice if the proper procedures are neglected, whereas dependents may be held accountable under the host nation law.

For more information please call the 569th USFPS Police Services section at 0631-536-6004, or the 86th Security Forces Squadron at 06371-74-2050.