After an accident - Failing to stop and give particulars
In NSW, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and give personal details to another driver involved in the crash, any person injured, or the owner of damaged property as a result of the accident is an offence. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of 20 penalty units.
The Offence Of Failing To Stop And Give Particulars
The offence that may arise from failing to stop at an accident is dealt with under Regulation 287 the Road Rules 2014. The law establishing the offence of Fail to Stop and Give Particulars states:
The driver must stop at the scene of the crash and give the driver’s required particulars, within the required time and, if practicable, at the scene of the crash, to:
- any other driver (or that driver’s representative) involved in the crash, and
- any other person involved in the crash who is injured, or the person’s representative, and
- the owner of any property (including any vehicle) damaged in the crash (or the owner’s representative), unless, in the case of damage to a vehicle, the particulars are given to the driver of the vehicle (or the driver’s representative).
The driver must also give the driver’s required particulars, within the required time, to a police officer if:
- anyone is killed or injured in the crash, or
- the driver does not, for any reason, give the driver’s required particulars to each person mentioned in subrule (2), or
- the required particulars for any other driver involved in the crash are not given to the driver, or
- a vehicle involved in the crash is towed or carried away by another vehicle (except if another law of this jurisdiction provides that the crash is not required to be reported), or
- the police officer asks for any of the required particulars.
Maximum penalty: Fine of 20 penalty units
“Required Particulars” , for a driver involved in a crash, means:
- the driver’s name and address, and
- the name and address of the owner of the driver’s vehicle, and
- the vehicle’s registration number (if any), and
- any other information necessary to identify the vehicle.
In addition, if required to provide details to a police officer, the driver must also include an explanation of the circumstances of the accident.
Obligation To Contact Police:
It is no longer mandatory to contact police and request their attendance after being involved in a car accident. You are only required to contact police where:
- A person is killed or injured;
- A person failed to provide their details and left the scene of the accident;
- It appears a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or
- There is damage to property or animals.
If police do not attend the scene of the accident you must report the crash as soon as possible within 24 hours (unless exceptional circumstances exist) in circumstances where:
- You are not able to provide your own details to another driver or owner of damaged property; or
- You are in an accident and a vehicle needs to be towed away.
What Actions Might Constitute “Failing To Stop And Give Particulars”?
If a driver has a single vehicle crash into a mailbox and leaves the scene of the accident without providing details to the owner of the property.
If a driver bumps into a parked and empty car in a carpark, causing a scratch on the other vehicle, and fails to leave their details or wait until the vehicle’s owner returns.
If a driver collides with another vehicle and both drivers agree they are mutually at fault and will pay their own costs but one driver refuses to provide their details.
What The Police Must Prove:
Generally this offence is finalised by way of a traffic infringement notice, a fine of $325 and a loss of 3 demerit points. However, you have the option to elect for the matter to be heard in the Local Court before a Magistrate if you wish to request the Court’s leniency or do not believe you are guilty. In this instance, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt to convict you of the offence:
- There was an accident; and
- You were the driver or rider of a vehicle involved in the accident; and
- You failed to stop your vehicle; or
- You stopped your vehicle but did not provide your particulars to another driver, an injured party or an owner of damaged property.
Possible Defences For Failing To Stop And Give Particulars:
Possible defenses to a Failing to Stop and Provide Particulars charge may include:
- The vehicle is registered in your name but you were not driving at the time of the incident;
- You were in an emergency situation and were unable to stop due to the circumstances e.g. an injured person was in your vehicle and required emergency medical assistance;
- It was not reasonable to stop your vehicle or communicate with other involved parties given the circumstances of the accident e.g. another driver was behaving aggressively and appeared intoxicated.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
In general this offence is finalised by way of a traffic infringement notice, a fine of $325 and a loss of 3 demerit points. You will not be required to attend court if given an infringement notice from the NSW Police or the Roads & Maritime Services (RMS).
However, you have the option to elect for the matter to be heard in the Local Court before a Magistrate if you wish to request the Court’s leniency or do not believe you are guilty.
WHERE TO NEXT?
In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.