Ottawa's first collision reporting centre has opened, which police say will streamline the process of reporting minor crashes.

Instead of waiting for police to show up, sometimes backing up traffic for hours, those involved in a crash in Ottawa's west end can go directly to the collision centre at 211 Huntmar Drive, as long as there are no injuries and the vehicles involved are driveable or towable.

Two other collision reporting centres — at 474 Elgin Street and 3343 St. Joseph Boulevard — are expected to open by the end of the year.

Project leader Insp. Sandra McLaren explained in a news release that all motorists involved in a crash must still contact police, who will then determine whether or not it can be reported at a centre. It's expected that 70 per cent of all collisions will be directed to a collision reporting centre by the end of 2014, she said.

"This means the rest of the public can get on with their day, rather than deal with unnecessary traffic congestion that results when involved vehicles remain on the roadway while the officer processes the collision report at the scene," McLaren said.

If more than one driver is involved, they do not have to attend the centre at the same time. But McLaren emphasized that drivers involved in a crash must report it as soon as possible, as per the Highway Traffic Act.

"If a driver has not reported within 24 hours, police will begin a fail to report collision investigation," she said.

Ottawa police expect the new centres will free up 8,600 hours of patrol time so that officers can respond to more serious incidents.