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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Failing to Stop and Assist After Impact Causing Injury


In NSW, the Road Transport Act 2013 makes it an offence to fail to stop and assist after an accident in which injury was caused to another person. This offence is punishable by a maximum fine of 30 penalty units or 18 months imprisonment, or both, for a first offence. The penalties for a second or subsequent offence within 5 years include a maximum fine of 50 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment, or both.

The Offence Of Failing To Stop And Assist

Section 146 of the Road Transport Act 2013 states that a person is guilty of an offence if:

  • the vehicle they are driving or riding is involved in an impact causing the death of, or injury to, another person, and
  • the person knows or should know, that the vehicle has been involved in an impact causing injury to another person, and
  • the person fails to stop and give any assistance that may be necessary and that it is in the person’s power to give.

The offence also has an automatic 3-year disqualification.

What Actions Might Constitute Failing To Stop And Assist?

A person may be charged with this offence in any of the following situations.

  • A person on a pushbike rides into the side of the car but the driver continues to drive without stopping to confirm the rider was unharmed.
  • Four cars are involved in an accident at an intersection. One vehicle is largely undamaged and the driver leaves the scene although they can see that an ambulance is being called for another person.

What The Police Must Prove

To find a person guilty of failing to stop and assist, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • There was an impact causing death or injury; and
  • The accused was the driver or rider of a vehicle involved in the accident; and
  • They knew, or ought to have known that another person was injured; and
  • They failed to stop their vehicle; or
  • They stopped their vehicle but did not provide assistance that was in their power to provide.

Possible Defences For Failing To Stop And Assist

Possible defences to a charge of failing to stop and provide assistance include:

  • That the accused was not the driver at the time of the accident;
  • That the accused stopped the car and did everything within their knowledge and experience to assist the injured person;
  • The accused could not reasonably have stopped the car due to the circumstances of the accident e.g. it was dangerous to stop or exit the vehicle.

Which Court Will Hear this Matter?

This matter is a summary matter and will be heard in the Local Court of NSW.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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