Section 170, Road Traffic Act 1988

Any driver involved in a road traffic accident must stop and provide their details.  If a driver does not comply with this requirement he must report the accident to the police as soon as reasonably practicable and, in any case, within 24 hours of the accident.  Accordingly, two separate offences can arise following an accident.  The first is failing to stop at the scene of the accident, and the second is failing to report the accident to the police.  A driver who fails to comply with these duties is guilty of an offence under section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.  

Penalties

The penalties for both offences are the same, namely points within the range of 5 to 10 together with a fine of up to £5000.  For serious cases the court has the power to disqualify and impose a period of imprisonment.

Failing to stop following an Accident

The duties on a driver following an accident are clear and strictly applied.  If you are involved in an accident which causes injury to another person or damage to another vehicle, property or animal you must stop immediately or as soon as reasonably practicable to the scene of the accident.  You must also remain at the scene for a sufficient time within which to provide details of your name, address and the registration number of the vehicle you were driving.  These details must be given to anyone reasonably entitled to ask for them, such as the driver of another vehicle involved in the accident or the owner of property damaged as a result of the collision. The requirement applies to all accidents occurring on a road or public place.  This means that even a small bump in a supermarket car park requires the driver to stop and report.  The requirement applies even if the accident is not the driver's fault.

 

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Failing to Report an Accident to the Police

The first obligation on a driver following an accident is to stop and exchange relevant details. If you stop at the scene of the accident and nobody is there with whom to exchange details you must report the accident to the police as soon as possible and, in any case, within 24 hours. It is important to understand that this does not mean that you have 24 hours to report an accident. You must report as soon as possible (and within 24 hours). Furthermore, the reporting of an accident to the police needs to be made in person rather than by a telephone call.

Prosecution & Defences

It is quite common for a driver to be prosecuted with the two separate charges. In order to secure a conviction the prosecution require to prove that the driver involved in an accident failed to stop and/or provide relevant details to anyone reasonably entitled to ask for them. However, problems frequently arise in relation to identification of the driver at the relevant time. A successful defence can be established if the driver was unaware that an accident had occured or that he attempted to report the matter by, for example, waiting for a reasonable period of time before leaving the scene.   


How we can help

If you have been charged with failing to stop and report it is important to obtain expert advice from a specialist road traffic lawyer. Our experience and expertise in this area will quickly determine the merits of the case and the best option for you. We pride ourselves in offering a service that is friendly, reliable and honest. For free advice that is without pressure or obligation simply contact us:

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