Traffic Accident Data

What is a traffic accident report?

Minnesota Statutes, section 169.09, requires peace officers who investigate certain traffic accidents to send a report to the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) following the accident. The Commissioner of DPS has determined what kinds of traffic accident data peace officers must submit. Traffic accident report forms are available from DPS.

Can members of the public get access to the data in a traffic accident report?

Based on the language in Minnesota Statutes, section 169.09, subdivision 13, the data in a traffic accident report sent to the Commissioner of DPS can’t be disclosed to members of the public – except for any of the types of data classified as public under Minnesota Statutes, section 13.82, subdivisions 3 (request for service data) and 6 (response or incident data).  Thus, if the only documentation a law enforcement agency maintains about a traffic accident is a copy of the report it sent to the Commissioner of DPS, members of the public can get access only to any request for service, or response or incident data contained in the report.

Can individuals involved in a traffic accident get access to the data in a traffic accident report?

Yes.  Access by these individuals is governed by Minnesota Statutes, section 169.09, subdivision 13.

A 2012 law change now allows an attorney or a representative of an insurer of an individual involved in a traffic accident to have access to the traffic accident report if they make a written request.

What if the parties to a traffic accident are juveniles?

Law enforcement agencies should look to Minnesota Statutes, section 260B.171, subdivision 5(d), for more information. 

What if our law enforcement agency maintains traffic accident data in other reports, such as police reports, incident reports, call for service reports, or any other reports that we create?

If an agency maintains traffic accident data in a report, record, or form other than the report sent to the Commissioner of Public Safety, the data are classified by Minnesota Statutes, section 13.82. 

How much can our law enforcement agency charge for copies of accident report data?

A law enforcement agency may charge for copies of the data based on the requirements in Minnesota Statutes, section 13.03, subdivision 3, or section 13.04, subdivision 3.  Under Minnesota Statutes, section 169.09, subdivision 13(e), only the Commissioner of Public Safety can charge the $5 fee for the report.