The incident is one of a number that has tainted the reputation of the controversial single force in recent months.
Lamara Bell died days after being discovered in the wreckage of the car alongside her boyfriend, John Yuill, who was killed at the time of the crash in Stirlingshire.
An independent review into the circumstances surrounding the fatalities is due to be published soon and yesterday a senior officer predicted its findings would not be kind.
Scottish Police Federation general secretary Calum Steele said: “We know the issues surrounding the M9, in particular, have led to a real intake of breath and, indeed, it is such a significant failure it has really hurt the service.
“I suspect that when the report is published, it is going to make for some brutal reading for the service.”
Mr Steele, speaking at a fringe event at the Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth, added: “I also believe there will be a significant element of finance identified as being a particular factor in that.”
That comment appears to refer to suggestions that cut-backs at Police Scotland could have been responsible for the mix-up, which saw reports of the crash ignored for several days.
Police Scotland has been told to find £1.1billion in savings by 2026 – a demand which many say is unattainable without having a detrimental affect on the day-to-day duties of the force.
Association of Scottish Police Superintendents president Niven Rennie also spoke at the conference, saying: “It remains extremely difficult to keep police services at their current level when the budget is being slashed.
“The Government’s policy of 1,000 extra officers introduced in 2007 severely restricts our ability to make the necessary savings.
“It is worthless to have 17,234 officers if we remove all the other facilities required by modern police services.”
The crash debacle followed a series of high-profile incidents involving Police Scotland which saw it repeatedly criticised by the public and politicians.
Regularly deploying armed officers on routine patrol proved contentious, as did the stop-and-search policy. Many also slammed Police Scotland for a perceived “war on motorists”, while lower drink-drive limits have had a devastating impact on the licensed trade.