What happens if you fail to report a road accident?

Nick Titchener headshot

Nick Titchener

Managing Partner

In Brief

No matter how careful a driver you are, it is always possible to be involved in an unfortunate accident on the road. Over 226,000 vehicles were involved in reported accidents in the year 2018 alone. If this happens to you, it is crucial to consider whether the incident needs to be reported to the police – and in most cases, it does. However major or minor the collision, and whether or not you perceive it to be your fault, the guidelines show that reporting an accident is the best course of action in the vast majority of cases. 

If the accident has resulted in injury, damage to another vehicle or damage to property such as a building or wall, the rules state that the driver(s) involved should make reasonable endeavours to exchange insurance details with the other driver or owner of the property.

If this cannot be done, then the accident must be reported to the police within 24 hours. This can be done by calling the non-emergency number 101. You must also report the accident to your insurance company even if you do not intend to make a claim.

What happens if an accident is not reported?

Failing to report an accident and failing to stop after an accident are two separate offences, as defined by the Road Traffic Act 1988, however, one often goes along with the other as a driver who does not stop after an accident is equally unlikely to report it. 

After the 24-hour period in which accidents can be reported has elapsed, the police may arrest a driver who can be interviewed as a suspect and charged on this basis. Both the offences of failing to stop and failing to report can be charged at the same time.

What are the sentencing guidelines for failing to report a road accident?

The penalties for failing to report a road accident can be severe. A prison sentence can be imposed and the court may consider further driving penalties. The issuing of between 5 and 10 penalty points onto a driving licence or disqualification from driving are not uncommon for these offences.

If the registered keeper of a vehicle receives an NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) and fails to provide details of the driver within 28 days then they have also committed an offence. This can be met with 6 penalty points and a fine.

Have you been accused of failing to report a road accident? 

It is crucial to seek expert legal assistance as early as possible. There are defences available for failing to report a road accident and our team of experienced solicitors will work closely with you to build the most robust case possible in order to ensure a positive outcome. 

Contact us today by calling 0333 577 0522 to find out how we can help you.

Note: This guide is intended to give general information only and not intended to be used as the basis upon which advice is given nor should it be relied upon as giving advice specific to a case or individual.

Lawtons do not accept liability for anyone using this guide. Should you require specific advice in connection with a real case or situation, please contact us so we can provide specific legal advice and assistance.

About the author

Nick Titchener is director and solicitor advocate of London based solicitors’ firm Lawtons, of which he oversees the day-to-day management. Nick is an experienced and dedicated criminal solicitor who has overseen many difficult cases including sexual offences, violence and assault. His methodical approach allows him to thrive on even the most complex of cases.

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