Car Accidents: Reading an Illinois Traffic Crash Report

Illinois Traffic Crash Reports are made by the police when a vehicle is involved in a collision (See an example Illinois Traffic Crash Report here). They are used for vehicle crashes, vehicle collisions with a pedestrian, and vehicle collisions with a bicyclist. If police are called to the scene of a collision, an Illinois Crash Report will be filled out. A more detailed report will be made if there is a death, serious injury, or if a vehicle has to be towed from the scene.

Page 1
The basic information included in the Crash Report is the street or intersection where the accident occurred, the municipality where the accident occurred, the county where the accident occurred, as well as the date, and the time of the accident. This information can be found in the box at the top of the report.

The report will describe the vehicles as “Unit 1” and “Unit 2.” This is where vehicle and driver information is recorded. In most circumstances, Unit 1 is the vehicle the police have determined is at fault for the collision. The name, date of birth, address, sex, telephone number, driver’s license number, and the state issuing the license will be placed into the report.

The report also provides information on the vehicle involved, including the make, model, year, VIN number, and registered owner’s name and address, as well as insurance information. Finally, the report provides a place for the investigating officer to record if there was vehicle damage and whether the vehicle had to be towed.

The report may also identify a list of passengers and witnesses to the accident, including their name, address, and telephone number. Witnesses are indicated by a “W,” while passengers will be identified by the unit number of the vehicle in which they were traveling in and their seating position within the vehicle. If there are more than five witnesses or passengers, an additional page will be appended to include their information.

Finally, page one of the report may list information on the cause of the crash, any arrests or citations, and the owner of any damaged property. The right side of the page is where the officer may indicate the primary cause of the accident and any secondary causes. These will be listed as a code. For example, 02 indicates failure to yield the right of way, 25 indicates disregarding a traffic signal, and 28 indicates failing to reduce speed to avoid a crash. Also on the right side of the page is a box listing the posted speed limit where the accident occurred.

Page 2
The second page of the report contains a scene diagram of the accident. The diagram will show the direction the vehicles were traveling, where the collision occurred, and where each vehicle ended up after the collision. A narrative of the collision may also be given. This section is completed by the officer based on observations made at the scene, interviews with the drivers, and statements from any witnesses. The box on the right side of the page will only be used if a commercial vehicle is involved.

The information contained in the Traffic Crash Report is only a starting point; a thorough investigation of the claim should be made. If you or someone you know has been in a car accident, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced auto accident attorney. Nobody expects a collision to occur, but when they do, it is important to make sure your rights are protected and you receive just compensation.