Failed to stop or report an accident

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Failing to Stop or Report an Accident Offences

Failing to Stop or Report an Accident is potentially a serious offence. If you are involved in an accident which results in injury to someone else or damage to another person’s vehicle or property, the law requires you to do certain things.

You are required to stop and report even if you were not the direct cause of the accident. Therefore, you may be required to stop and report even if your vehicle did not make contact with anything else.

For example, if another car swerved to avoid you and veered off the road, you should still stop and exchange details. If this is not possible, you should report it to the police.

These Law requirements are:

  • Stop, and if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for requesting them, give your details.
  • If for any reason you do not give your details, you must report the incident at a police station or to a constable as soon as reasonably practicable, and certainly within 24 hours.

This does not mean that you have up to 24 hours to report the accident; it means that you must do it as soon as possible.

If you would like to know more please contact us today.

When to give the details

The details only need to be given if so required by a person having reasonable grounds to do so. Then you must give your own name and address, those of the owner of the vehicle (if not you) and the identification marks of the vehicle (the registration number). The address must be one through which you can be contacted but may not necessarily be your home address.

For more information please see our FAQs on Failing to Stop and Report below.


You may have a defence that you were not aware of or it may make the difference between a driving ban and penalty points.

Evidential Issues Were you requested to provide details? Can the police prove that there was damage or injury caused? Did you know that there had been an accident?

Mitigation If you do not have a defence, is there mitigation to persuade the court to impose a reduced penalty?

If you would like to know more please contact us today.


Legal Definition

Fail to stop/report road accident, failing to stop and exchange details, failing to report an accident to the police

Main Legislation

Section 170 Road Traffic Act 1988


Maximum Penalties

Driving Penalties: 5 -10 penalty points or a disqualification (usually of up to 12 months)

Fine: Unlimited.



Magistrates only (unless an appeal)

Imprisonable? Yes – up to 6 months imprisonment.

Failing to stop or report FAQS

When do I need to stop and/or report?

A driver must stop if:

  • an accident has occurred owing to the presence of a mechanically propelled vehicle (a fancy way of saying car, lorry etc!) on a road or other public place,
  • in which either personal injury is caused to someone other than the driver of the vehicle, or
  • damage is caused to a vehicle (excepting the drivers’ own vehicle or a trailer drawn by his vehicle),
  • or to certain animals (excepting an animal in the driver’s vehicle or trailer),
  • or to any property attached to the land on which the road is situated or adjacent to the road.

What if I didn't know I'd been involved in an accident?

If you can prove on the balance of probabilities that you genuinely didn’t know that you were involved in an accident, then you will have a defence. This will be difficult to prove where the damage or injury is more severe, or for example, if there are witnesses who state that there was a loud noise at the time of the incident.

You will not have a defence if the police can demonstrate that you ‘turned a blind eye’ to the possibility of an accident.

Will I have to go to Court for failing to stop or report?

If you are charged for failing to stop or report, you will be required to attend a hearing in the Magistrates’ Court. The proceedings may begin when you receive a charge and Postal Requisition. Your licence and even your liberty may be at risk so you should seek some advice.

It depends on the seriousness of the injuries/damage caused what the penalties would be if you plead guilty. If you do not have a defence, it is important that careful mitigation is placed before the court to keep any penalty to a minimum and to safeguard your licence and keep you out of prison.

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