Alan Taylor explains the Law regarding road traffic incidents and accidents.
Video c. 5 minutes.
Government licensing statistics indicate that there are in excess of 32 million licensed cars on the cars on the road- to say nothing of goods vehicles and motorcycles.
The law relating to road traffic matters is some of the most difficult and complex that ordinary people come up against in their daily lives. Many myths surround traffic matters. Let’s look at an example.
If I have a simple accident, it’s not a crime is it?
Well, yes it may be. Very commonly, after you’ve done the shopping, you have a minor bump in the supermarket car park just as you are about to leave. So many drivers simply drive away, thinking nobody has seen it. You have now driven without due care and attention and you have failed to stop at the scene of an accident. Even if it’s just a scratch on the other car bumper, you must stop.
What if there’s nobody there?
It doesn’t matter. You must stop and wait for a reasonable time, between 10 and 20 minutes will do, as you must give other people a reasonable time to obtain your details.
Well, if nobody turns up, can I just ignore it then?
No – unfortunately not. If there has been a damage accident and particulars are not exchanged you must go to a police station to report it as soon as reasonably practicable and, in any event, within 24 hours.
So it’s ok to go home then, and ring the police the next day?
Again, I am afraid not. The law is strict. You must go to a police station in person to report the accident as soon as reasonably practicable. That means don’t wait. Go straightaway. Any delay could cost you very dearly.
Well, if I didn’t stop and report matters, what will happen?
You will get a letter through the post from the police. It will ask you to give details about the driver that time. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it. These letters rarely get lost in the post and, as the police will send a reminder, nobody will believe that two letters got lost when all of your other letters have been delivered.
If I do ignore it, what will happen?
You may well finish up being summoned to Court. You could be fined and have penalty points put on your driving licence. It is possible that you could lose your driving licence. A driving licence is so important in our daily lives; it’s just silly to risk it for a scratch on a bumper in a car park.
perhaps I could get my partner to take the points for me
Well, that puts you in even hotter water because now you are perverting the course of public justice and, for that, I am afraid, it is likely you will go to prison, even if you have not been in trouble before.
There are hundreds of road traffic offences. I am sorry to say that your friend down the pub doesn’t know the answer if a problem arises. In this simple scenario that we have looked at, there are many pitfalls. If you find yourself in difficulty, and it can happen to the best of us, do not delay.
At Heckford Norton we have the expertise to help you through the minefield; to give you the advice you need; and to represent your best interests.