Gardena pilot program could replace police at minor accidents

GARDENA, Calif. (KABC) -- After a fender bender, you have to deal with the cycle of paperwork and calls to your insurance company.

Last year in Gardena, drivers called police officers to 1,184 minor accidents. Most times, the officers just watch drivers exchange information, which amounts to about 700 hours of officer time.

On Thursday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to herald a potential solution. Gardena is partnering with a company called Accident Support Services International.

It provides one stop centers where drivers take their damaged cars, have everything documented and sent to their insurance company. Other benefits? Crash scenes are cleared quickly to let traffic through, and the center will collect data on what might be causing those minor accidents. Are there measures that could minimize them?

The cost of the center is borne by insurance carriers. No tax dollars are spent.

The Gardena project is a pilot program - only the fourth community in the U.S. to try it. But Gardena police say it's already getting inquiries from other cities where police resources are especially tight.
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