Failing to stop at the scene of an accident, and failing to report an accident to the police, are two separate motoring offences.
If an accident takes place, and either damage or personal injury is caused, then the driver of the vehicle at the time is required to stop at the scene of the accident and hand over their details and their insurance policy number to others present who may wish to have that information. Failing to stop at the scene of an accident is an offence under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
There is a further obligation (even if you do stop and provide your details) to report any accident that results in injury or damage to a Police Station as soon as reasonably practicable and in any case within a maximum of 24 hours. Failing to report an accident is again another offence under section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
In either case, no offence is committed if the driver could not have reasonably appreciated that there had been an accident. We have a lot of success with this defence. If you think it might apply to you, then call us immediately. If you were not aware of an accident at the time when it occurred but you became aware of the accident within 24 hours of it taking place you are then under a duty to report the accident as if you had known about it in the first place.
The penalties for failing to stop at the scene of an accident and/or failing to report an accident can be extremely serious because they are intended to deter drink drivers from leaving the scene of an accident etc. In the worst cases, the Court will consider a prison sentence. The court can also impose 5 to 10 penalty points on your driving licence, or disqualify you from driving.
If both of these offences occur in relation to the same incident then the offences are treated as occurring on the same occasion. This means that if you get a summons for both offences you are only at risk of points for one of the offences rather than both. The fines involved can be anywhere up to £5,000 and the level imposed will be affected by the seriousness of the offence and your personal circumstances.
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Read this case study on: Failing to report an accident.