Road Traffic Collision

Definition of a road traffic collision

The law defines a reportable road traffic collision as a collision involving a mechanically-propelled vehicle on a road or other public area which causes:

  • Injury or damage to anybody - other than the driver of that vehicle
  • Injury or damage to an animal- other than one being carried on that vehicle (an animal is classed as a horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog)
  • Damage to a vehicle - other than the vehicle which caused the accident
  • Damage to property constructed on, affixed to, growing in, or otherwise forming part of the land where the road is

Not all collisions take place on a road. The police can investigate collisions, for example, in car parks, which are open to the general public and are therefore deemed to be public places.

Involved in a collision?

If you are the driver of a vehicle and are involved in a road traffic collision that meets the criteria listed above, your legal requirements under the Road Traffic Act 1988 are:

  • Stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable time - if you do not do so, you could be committing an offence of failing to stop at the scene of an accident
  • Give your name and address, vehicle registration number, and details of the owner (if different) to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for these details
  • If you do not exchange those details at the scene you must report the collision at a police station or to a police officer as soon as possible and, in any event, within 24 hours

When another person involved is injured you must:

  • Produce your certificate of insurance to anyone at the scene having reasonable grounds to see it.
  • If you don’t have your certificate with you, you may take it to the police station when you report the incident.  If you are unable to produce your insurance at the time of reporting the incident, you must produce it within seven days of the collision.
  • This applies, not only if your vehicle was directly involved in the collision, but also if your vehicle’s presence was a factor.

If you have any doubts we advise you to report the collision regardless of who was at fault.

Failure to report an accident could result in you committing an offence.

The penalties for such an offence, and failing to stop as above, include a fine/up to 6 months imprisonment and penalty points on your licence. The court can also disqualify you from driving for either or both offences.

Obtaining details of other parties

If available the details of the other persons involved in the collision may be obtained by way of a written request. This could be by letter or e-mail. Witness details will not be disclosed.

We are unable to give opinions as to which party is at fault. North Wales Police are obliged to remain impartial and restrict any information given to fact only.

Generally it takes seven days for the information to reach the Administration of Justice Department and a collision reference number to be generated. This number can then be passed to your insurance company.

If the other party was not present at the scene, then these details may not be known for some time.

When a case has been finalised a copy of the report can be obtained for a fee. This is generally arranged by solicitors or the insurance company.

Making witness statements

You may be asked to provide a written statement. Usually this is by way of a pro-forma statement that is sent to you for completion and return to the Unit.

Provision of a written statement or a pro-forma statement does not automatically mean you will have to appear as a witness in court proceedings. If a prosecution is considered necessary, then you will be notified as to whether or not your attendance at court will be required.

Prosecution policy

All evidence regarding a collision will be submitted to the dedicated North Wales Police Road Traffic Collision Evidence Assessors, who will make an informed decision. The case may be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, for their advice as to whether or not it is appropriate to prosecute, for example, in a case of dangerous driving.

When there is sufficient evidence to prosecute a driver for careless driving, North Wales Police may offer a one day educational course as an alternative to prosecution. This course is known as the National Driver Alertness Course and is aimed at driver improvement rather than prosecution in order to make the roads safer.

Notifying Insurance Company

 Most insurance companies require notification of a collision, irrespective of whether a claim is to be made or whose fault it was. They will normally send you a form for completion.

What if the other driver is not insured?

If you suffer an injury due to a road collision, or any loss or damage to your property, insurance companies usually deal with this.

Where the offender is not traced or not insured, then compensation may be available from the Motor Insurers Bureau.

The M.I.B. can consider claims for:-

  • Personal injury, loss or damage caused by an identified driver who is uninsured.
  • Personal injury caused by a driver who cannot be traced. (This doesn’t include damage or loss to property)

PLEASE NOTE -YOU CANNOT REPORT THE COLLISION TO THE POLICE USING THIS WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA

If you do so you will not comply with the legal requirements under the Road Traffic Act 1988 as outlined above and you may be liable for prosecution for failing to report an accident.

The Administration of Justice Department is based at Divisional Headquarters, St Asaph, Denbighshire and deals with the recording and investigation of collisions that occur within North Wales.

Not all collisions are recorded. If an officer attends the scene it may be decided that no further action is required by North Wales Police.