Failing to Stop for the Police

Road traffic offences are taken extremely seriously under UK law, and there are ways in which you could find yourself accused of an offence simply because you did not follow due process after being involved in an incident.

If you are in a road traffic accident and you fail to stop in order to exchange details or report it, the police may wish to interview you as a suspect and you can be prosecuted. Equally, if you receive a speeding ticket or notice of intended prosecution (NIP) it is likely you will receive a court summons if you fail to identify the driver.

If you are facing allegations of any of these offences, you should seek expert legal advice immediately from our motoring offence solicitors in order to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.

What does failing to stop after an accident mean?

If an accident has resulted in injury, or damage is caused to another vehicle or property, the driver should stop and make reasonable endeavours to ensure that details are exchanged with the other driver or owner of the property.

In simple terms, if this cannot happen, the law requires the driver to report the accident to the police within 24 hours.

If injury has been caused as a result of the accident, insurance details must also be exchanged at the scene, or afterwards if that is not possible.

What is the difference between failing to stop and failing to report?

The offences are separate, although it is common for both to be charged at the same time. Legal defences to both charges are available and it is necessary to carefully consider the circumstances before deciding how to plead.

What are the legal penalties for failing to stop and failing to report?

The penalties for both offences are significant. The court can impose a prison sentence and will consider adding further driving penalties, such as between 5-10 penalty points to a driving licence or a driving disqualification.

It is a common misconception that if you ignore a speeding ticket or NIP that it will go away, and it is likely you will receive a court summons for failing to identify the driver.

However, if you do not complete the NIP correctly or return it within the specified time of 28 days, you will commit an offence contrary to Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 of failing to provide the details of a driver, for which you may receive penalty points and a fine of up to £1000.

A notice will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle, who must provide the name and address of the driver at the time of the offence, to the best of their knowledge.

What are the penalties for providing false details to police?

Knowingly giving false details in order to avoid penalty points is a very serious offence of perverting the course of justice for which you will be sent to the Crown Court, and it is likely that you will face immediate imprisonment.

And if I am accused of one of these offences?

The legal team at Lawtons Solicitors are experts in motoring offences, and have extensive experience in advising and defending these matters. It is crucial that you contact us immediately to discuss your situation and receive immediate assistance and help.

FAQs about Failing to Stop or Provide Details to the Police

Is it illegal not to report a car accident in the UK?

The Road Traffic Act says you must report the accident within 24 hours to the police. You must also report the accident to your insurance company (even if you are not planning to make a claim). You can do this by calling 101, the police non-emergency number.

Should I stop for an unmarked police car?

If an unmarked police car contains a police constable who is in uniform then you must stop. But if an unmarked car is flashing for you to pull over, do not pull over unless you are certain it is the police.

Do I have to give out my address after an accident?

An offence is committed if the registered keeper of the vehicle fails to provide details of the driver within 28 days when they receive an NIP. If you fail to provide the requested information you will receive 6 penalty points and a fine.

What happens if my company fails to identify a driver?

The rules are different for a company or business. Companies are expected to keep accurate records of the drivers of their vehicles at any given time, and should you fail to keep such records it is likely that the court will find you guilty of this separate offence.

What happens if I was not driving the vehicle at the time of the offence?

If you were not the driver, do not simply pass the notice to that person – you must complete and return the paperwork in compliance with the rules, and not leave it to chance that the other person will resolve matters as you may find yourself summoned to court. If you require further time to identify the driver, the police may grant you an extension of time.