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Should I stay or should I go? – Failing to Stop after an Accident | M.A.J. Law

Conor Johnstone
12 January 2017

A recent study has revealed that many motorists aren’t aware of their legal obligations following a ‘bump’. Are you?

Failing to stop after a road traffic collision is far more serious than you might think. If convicted, the magistrates are entitled to send you to prison for up to 6 months. They can also impose a 12 month driving disqualification. For more information about this offence and the potential implications, please contact a member of our team on 01514228020.

The legal requirement to stop following an accident comes from Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

Section 170 states that a driver must stop and exchange details, or make a report, where personal injury is caused to an individual or damage is caused to another vehicle, road furniture or a variety of animals. Surprisingly, a ‘variety of animals’ does not include a cat but does include a dog. Whatever the animal, it is advisable that you stop and report the incident immediately.

Leicester University have discovered that there were 17,000 hit and run cases in 2015, which equates to around 12% of all road accidents involving injury. This shocking statistic suggests that many motorists are simply turning a blind-eye to the obligations placed upon them as licence holders.

The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) commissioned a study to find out why people would fail to stop or report an accident. Out of those interviewed, a staggering 13% said that it was due to impairment through drink or drugs.

In many cases where accidents are caused by drink or drug driving, there is often damage and/or injury to others. For this reason, allegations of drink driving are usually coupled with a charge of failing to stop following a road accident. If you have been charged with drink or drug driving and failing to stop, you may have a full defence to the allegation.

Failing to stop defences

Every case is different and should be considered on its own merits. However, you may have a defence is;

  • you can satisfy the court that you were unaware that the accident had occurred
  • you had stopped after the accident and waited for a reasonable time
  • you were not driving at the time of the accident
  • you attempted to stop but were unable to do so (through no fault of your own)
  • the location of the alleged offence was not a public place.
  • you did, in fact, stop and intended to report the accident within 24 hours

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