Traffic Accidents (Vic)
The Road Safety Act 1986 governs the behaviour of drivers involved in an accident. This article outlines the requirements and penalties.
Section 61 of the Act lists the duties of the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident. It states the driver must:
- stop immediately;
- help any injured person immediately;
- give their name, address, vehicle registration, and vehicle owner’s name to:
- any person injured in the crash;
- the owner of any property which has been damaged or destroyed;
- anyone representing the injured person or the owner of the affected property;
- any police officer present;
- if police are not at the site, report the crash to the nearest station;
- if property is damaged or destroyed and the owner is not at the site, report the crash to the nearest police station.
If an accident is minor and does not cause injury or property damage, and the parties involved in the accident have exchanged information, the accident does not have to be reported to police.
The Act states that if:
- someone is killed or seriously injured as the result of an accident; and
- the driver of the vehicle knows or ought to know the accident had occurred and someone had been killed or seriously injured as a result; and
- the driver does not comply with the requirements listed above;
the driver has committed an indictable offence and is liable to be jailed for up to 10 years or to a fine of up to 1200 penalty units ($198,264).
If a driver stops and helps after an accident but does not provide their details to the injured person, the police or the owner of damaged property; or they fail to report the accident to police; they can be jailed for up to 8 months and face a fine of up to 80 penalty units ($13,217.60). For a subsequent offence, they can be jailed for a period of between 4 months and 2 years, and face a fine of up to 240 penalty units ($39,652.80).
If there was no death or injury from the accident, but the driver but does not provide their details to the other party, the police or the owner of damaged property; or they fail to report the accident to police; they can be jailed for up to 14 days or face a fine of up to 5 penalty units ($2313.08). For a subsequent offence, they can be jailed for a period of between 14 days and 1 month, and face a fine of up to 10 penalty units ($1652.20).
Section 60(2) of the Act states it is an offence to fail to provide to a police officer information to identify the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident in which a person was injured or killed. The penalty is a fine of up to 20 penalty units ($3304.40), imprisonment for up to 4 months, or both.
If a person is killed or suffers serious injury, and the driver is convicted or found guilty of an offence under section 61, the driver’s licence (whether the licence is a full licence or learner permit) must be cancelled and the driver disqualified for:
- in the case of a first offence, at least 4 years if a conviction is recorded, or 2 years otherwise;
- in the case of a subsequent offence, at least 8 years if a conviction is recorded or at least 4 years otherwise.
For the offence listed under section 60(2), on conviction, the driver’s licence (whether the licence is a full licence or learner permit) must be cancelled and the driver disqualified for:
- in the case of a first offence, at least 2 years;
- in the case of a subsequent offence, at least 4 years.
Victoria Police provides a service to people seeking information about traffic accidents in the state that were reported to police. Under the Victoria Police Act 2013, anyone injured in an accident or who had property damaged, or a representative of that person, can apply for a copy of the accident report. For a fee of $53.50, a copy of the report is provided, as well as the first 10 pages of statements and photographs if applicable. Each additional page is $1.
Under the Act, information contained in a report can be used only to:
- obtain legal advice about the accident;
- recover any loss or damage, or costs, incurred;
- assess insurance claims relating to death or injury of a person, or damage or destruction of property;
- assess a claim for compensation relating to the death or injury of a person;
- investigate the accident.
In certain circumstances, police officers may be interviewed about an accident, at the discretion of Victoria Police. The fees range from $172.30 per hour for an interview with an inspector or higher rank, to $100.90 per hour for an interview with a constable or senior constable.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.