Q894: What are the driver's responsibilities when involved in an accident?
If, as a driver, your vehicle is involved in a road-traffic accident/collision on a road or public place and one or more of the following occurs:
- a person, other than yourself, is injured,
- damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else's property - including street lamps, signs, bollards etc.
- an animal, other than one in your own vehicle/trailer, has been killed or injured (animal means any horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog).
- stop (whether it's your fault or not) AND,
- give your name and address, the vehicle owner's name and address and your vehicle's registration number to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details.
If you don't give your name and address, you must report the accident at a police station or to a police constable as soon as you can, and in any case within 24 hours (this does not mean you have 24 hours in which to report the accident). If you fail to stop, fail to give your and the owner's name and address or the vehicle's details or fail to report the accident, you commit an offence/s.
If another person is injured, in addition to the above, YOU MUST:
- Produce your certificate of insurance to a constable or anyone else having reasonable grounds to see it.
If you don't, you must report the accident at a police station or to a constable as soon as you can and in any case within 24 hours (this does not mean you have 24 hours in which to report the accident) and produce your certificate of insurance. However, if you don't have your certificate with you when you report the accident to the police, you can take it, within seven days of the accident, to the police station you nominate when you report the incident.
Points to note:
- Reporting – if you are under a legal responsibility to tell the police about an accident you cannot do this by telephone, you can only report an accident at a police station or to a police officer in person.
- Driving – you're legally obliged to comply with these requirements not only when you are directly involved in an accident, but also if your vehicle's 'presence' was a factor in an accident. You don't even have to have been driving the vehicle at the time of the accident e.g. you park your car and run to post a letter, your car runs downhill and collides with another.
- The above provisions make no reference to blame. Therefore, a driver must comply with them even if they are not at fault for the accident.