Hit and Run – Fail To Stop – Fail To Report

The offence of failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident fall under the category of hit and run offences and as such are commonly convicted in conjunction with one another.

If you are involved in an accident, you are required by law to stop and provide your details to any third parties where injury and/or damage is caused.

If you can’t provide those details at the time of the accident (because no one else was present or traceable) then you are required to report the accident to the police as soon as possible and at worst within 24 hours of the offence.

Hit and run offences are covered by section 170 of the road traffic act.

In reality, most fail to stop and fail to report offences deal with car park bumps and scrapes but the legislation was designed to deal with serious hit and run offences.

The penalty for failing to stop and / or report an accident is 6 months in prison and 5 – 10 penalty points for each offence, however, as the majority of the time these offences happen at the same time for one offence, they are usually treated as one offence and prosecuted together.

How To Defend Fail To Stop Offences

There are four possible defences;

  • Your were not driving
  • You were not on a public road or in a public place
  • Show that you did stop and exchange details or that you reported the accident
  • Show that you were not aware there had been an accident

The key to fail to stop and fail to report is whether injury or damage was caused. If no injury or damage has been caused then you are under no obligation to stop or report, so can’t be found guilty of either offence.

As far as the court is concerned, it’s up to you to demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that you were unaware that there had been an accident, and this of course depends on the severity of the impact and damage caused.

In instances where you were unaware at the time that there had been an accident, but become aware of it later, then you are still obliged to report it to the police within 24 hours to comply with your legal obligations.