Failing to Stop / Report Accident

What is the law on stopping after an accident?

If involved in an accident in which injury is caused to another party or damage arises to another party's property, the driver of the vehicle must stop and, if required to do so by any persons reasonably requesting information, provide his name and address and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle and the identification marks of the vehicle.

Section 170 Road Traffic Act 1988

What is the penalty for failing to stop?

5 to 10 penalty points plus a fine from £200 to £5,000

What is the law on reporting an accident?

If for any reason, having been involved in an accident which has resulted in damage / injury to any other party or property, you did not exchange details at the scene, you then take on a further obligation to:

Report the accident to the Police, as soon as is practicable but, in any event, within 24 hours.

Section 170(3) Road Traffic Act 1988

What is the penalty for failing to report an accident to the Police?

5 to 10 penalty points plus a fine from £200 to £5,000.

Why am I also being charged with driving without due care?

For failing to stop / report allegations to arise, an accident must have occurred. If so, the Police would normally also prosecute for driving without due care and attention, on the basis that they believe you caused / contributed to the accident.

What if I was unaware of an accident?

There is a potential defence to failing to stop / failing to report, if you can demonstrate that you were genuinely unaware of being involved in the incident or that you genuinely did not know that any damage or injury arose to a third party. However, these are technical issues and it would be prudent to obtain clear guidance on the options / implications before presenting such a defence.

Can I be banned from driving?

Yes. Each offence can be punished by a disqualification.

Can I reduce the penalty?

Yes. As there is a range of penalty points available, mitigation can persuade the Court to minimise your punishment. Further, if more than one allegation is alleged, the Court has the option to impose penalty points for one offence alone, subject to the mitigation presented.

Why should I seek legal advice?

These are serious offences and are often regarded as matters of honesty/integrity by the Court. As a result, the Court has the power to impose an immediate disqualification and may demand a personal attendance, despite the Single Justice Procedure Notice inferring that the matter can be concluded in writing. If you choose to present a written submission, the content may affect whether a hearing is allocated for a personal attendance, so you need to ensure your mitigation is as compelling as possible, but additionally, does not cause issues if the Court does demand an attendance.