We at Cromptons Solicitors have seen first hand the devastating impact road traffic collisions can have on victims and their families.
What makes things considerably worse in these situations is when the driver fails to stop at the scene, often leaving victims for dead with serious and life changing injuries. This adds further to the potentially long term physical and emotional impact felt by the victims and their families. Remember, first aid or life saving treatment immediately following a collision can and does save lives.
To highlight the scale of the problem, 12% (17,122) of road traffic accidents reported to the police where someone is injured involves a ‘hit and run’ driver.
According to a study by the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester, a large number of defendants involved in the study didn’t think a minor accident was serious enough to report or were unaware of the legal requirements to report it.
Many others put their own self preservation first rather than any responsibility to report due in part to hiding criminality or because they may be driving without insurance. Others are under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairing their judgement. The study categorised ‘hit and run’ drivers into 6 groups linked to their motivational behaviours: the oblivious, the uncertain departers, the panickers, the rational escapists, the intimidated and the impaired.
Dr Matt Hopkins, University of Leicester who carried out the study said “The reasons behind why people hit and run are complex but interestingly, at least for minor accidents, there is a public perception that motoring offences are not ‘real crimes’ and therefore there is a tendency to justify behaviour”
Not stopping at the scene of an accident or failing to report an accident you’re involved in is a serious offence that can result in a hefty fine, disqualification or even prison. If you are involved in a road traffic collision call the emergency services if the accident or injuries require you to do so.
According to the AA here’s what to do following a road traffic accident…
If you’re driving, and:
- A person, other than yourself, is injured
- Damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else’s property – including lamps, signs, bollards and other street furniture
- An animal (horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog) has been killed or injured, except in your own vehicle or trailer
Then you must:
- Stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period
- Give your vehicle registration number, your name and address, and that of the vehicle owner (if different) to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details
- If you don’t exchange details at the scene, you must report the accident at a police station or to a police constable as soon as you can, and in any case within 24 hours
If another person’s injured, you must:
- Produce your certificate of insurance, if anyone at the scene has reasonable grounds to see it
- If you don’t, you must report the accident at a police station or to a constable as soon as you can and in any case within 24 hours. You’ll need to produce your certificate of insurance but if you don’t have it when reporting the accident to the police, you may take it, within seven days of the accident, to the police station you nominate when you report the incident
Reporting the accident to the police by telephone isn’t sufficient and you can’t ask someone else to report for you.
You’re obliged to do these things not only when you’re directly involved in an accident, but also if your vehicle’s ‘presence’ was a factor.
If you have been involved in a road traffic collison you can start a road traffic collision claim online or by calling our dedicated team on 01204 589009.