Patrolman Dan Kaiser evidently wants fewer calls at work. The Aberdeen policeman, who also happens to be one of District 3's two Republican Representatives, has filed House Bill 1074, which would raise the property damage threshold for reporting automobile accidents. Right now, if you bend fenders, SDCL 32-34-7 requires that you call the police if it looks like you've done a thousand dollars or more in damage to any one person's property or two thousand dollars or more in total damage for all parties involved in the accident. HB 1074 doubles those numbers: two thousand or more per person, four thousand or more per accident.
Think of it this way: pass HB 1074, then spin your truck out on the ice, hit another car, and put a $1,600 crease in your fender, and you don't have to bother Officer Kaiser. If the car you hit also incurs $1,600 in damage, still no call. But if the crash slides you both into Mayor Levsen's yard and you crush his $1,000 decorative mailbox, that's $4,200 in damage for all parties concerned, and you need to call Officer Kaiser.
Doubling the damage threshold is a pretty big jump. The last revision in these reporting thresholds came fifteen years ago, when that year's HB 1203 doubled the damage thresholds to the current amounts. But adjust the $1,000 individual damage limit for each year's inflation rate from 2000 to 2014, and you get $1,421. Rep. Kaiser thus appears to have an eye on reducing paperwork for his Legislative colleagues as well, overshooting the inflation adjustment and thus putting off by several more years the need to revisit this statute with further legislation.
The Kaiser Paperwork Reduction Act does not change the requirement to notify the police immediately of an automobile accident that injures or kills any person. HB 1074 goes before House Judiciary Wednesday morning.