RALEIGH, N.C. — Drone aircraft are beginning to hover over highway crashes in North Carolina as more law enforcement agencies use them to reopen the road in a fraction of the time needed previously.

The state Transportation Department said Wednesday it and the State Highway Patrol are studying drones that create 3-D models of crash scenes. DOT says a test of the technology cut the time for an accurate crash reconstruction from almost two hours to 25 minutes.

Drones are cheaper, easier and could be safer for law officers because they’re not working on the highway. Law officers could need Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly drones.

The technology is being used by a few law enforcement agencies, including the Canadian city of Edmonton and Gwinnett County police near Atlanta.