Failing To Stop and Report
After An Accident
If whilst driving you cause injury to another person or damage to property such as another vehicle, roadside fencing or traffic signs, the law says that you must stop at the scene of the incident.
If you do not stop at the scene of the incident you are likely to be charged with both failing to stop after an accident and failing to report.
How serious are these charges?
The police and the courts regard these offences as serious. They can carry up to ten points and disqualification so you should treat them with respect. If the circumstances are particularly serious, you can be sent to prison.
When do I have to report an incident to the police?
If the damage is caused to another person, vehicle or other property, you must provide certain details including your name, address and who your insurers are. If you do this you do not need to report the accident to the police. However, if you cannot provide the details, because for example the damaged vehicle was unattended in a car park and you cannot find the other driver, then you must report the incident to the police within 24 hours.
What happens if I do not report the incident to the police when I should?
You are likely to be convicted if you do not report the incident when you should have unless you can show you did not know you had been involved in an accident. However, the burden will be on you to show you did not know, rather than on the prosecution to show you did know. If your vehicle was involved in a significant impact it will be very difficult to explain how you did not know about it.
Ignorance of the duty to stop and report is no defence.
What if I left the scene of the accident and went back later?
If you left the scene went back later the court will look at the reason for not stopping or returning immediately and you may still be convicted. These cases depend on their individual circumstances, which require careful assessment.