Although some may be hoping for a white Christmas and for children the recent cold snap brought the pleasure of being able to play in the snow, for motorists, the winter weather brings additional problems. For those who are unfortunately involved in minor bumps, the last thing that they want is a summons for failing to comply with the correct procedure.
The law states that a driver is required to stop his vehicle if an accident occurs owing to the presence of a vehicle on a road or other public place in which there is either personal injury to someone other than the driver of the vehicle or damage is caused to another vehicle, an animal or to any property attached to land on which the road is situated or adjacent to the road. There would therefore be a requirement if there was a minor collision between two cars on say a car park to which the public had access, which resulted in damage or if due to icy conditions a driver was unable to control a skid and slid into and damaged a house’s garden wall or fence.
There is an additional requirement is to give, to anyone having reasonable grounds to require, the driver’s name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle and the registration mark of the vehicle. If the driver does not do this, then he must report the accident at a police station or to a police constable, as soon as reasonably practicable and in any case within 24 hours.
Provisions for failing to comply with the requirement are strict and reflect the seriousness of the offence. The maximum penalty is 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5000. Where the court imposes a custodial sentence then the driver can also be disqualified and the court is likely to fix the period of disqualification so that it is served after the period of release. Recent legal arguments that the requirement to provide the information was a breach of the right to silence and not to incriminate oneself have failed.