Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs

– section 61 of the Road Safety Act 1986

duty of driver of motor vehicle if accident occurs

 

This offence is when you drive a motor vehicle and an accident occurs because of something you did or failed to do. Or if you fail to provide assistance or your details after being involved in an accident.

Examples of Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle If Accident Occurs
  • A driver hits a cyclist, drives away and does not report it to the police.
  • A driver is involved in a collision, hits the back of another car and refuses to provide their name and address to the other driver.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle If Accident Occurs?
  • You were not involved in any accident.
  • You did not do anything wrong following an accident.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions that are asked in cases like this:
  • Were you involved in an accident?
  • What did you do after the accident?
  • Can they prove you did anything wrong?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of 1200 penalty points as well as a licence cancellation and disqualification

This kind of offence is heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

“Were you in a car accident and did you do something wrong?”
What is the legal definition of Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle If Accident Occurs?

The Police must show that you drove a motor vehicle at the time that an accident occurred. And you either failed to stop, render assistance, provide your name and address to the other party or report the accident to police.

The Law

The section that covers this offence is section 61 of the Road Safety Act 1986.1

prison penalty sentencing

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

This is a serious offence and depending on the kind of accident, injuries caused and your actions you may get a prison sentence. In less serious cases you will receive a fine. In all circumstances if you are found guilty you will lose your license.

Other Important Resources
Case Studies

 


[1] Road Safety Act 1986 – Section 61

(1) If owing to the presence of a motor vehicle an accident occurs whereby any person is injured or any property (including any animal) is damaged or destroyed, the driver of the motor vehicle—
(a) must immediately stop the motor vehicle; and
(b) must immediately render such assistance as he or she can; and
(c) must at the scene of the accident as soon as possible give his or her name and address and also the name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle and the identifying number of the motor vehicle—
(i) to any person who has been injured or to the owner of any property which has been damaged or destroyed; or
(ii) to a person representing the injured person or the owner of the property; and
(d) must at the scene of the accident as soon as possible give those names and addresses to any police officer who is present; and
(e) if any person is injured and no police officer is present at the scene of the accident, must as soon as possible report in person full particulars of the accident at the police station that is most accessible from the scene of the accident if that station is open and, if it is not open, at the next most accessible station; and
(f) if any property is damaged or destroyed and neither the owner of the property nor any person representing the owner nor any police officer is present at the scene of the accident, must as soon as possible report in person full particulars of the accident at the police station that is most accessible from the scene of the accident if that station is open and, if it is not open, at the next most accessible station.
(2) If a motor vehicle which has been left standing on a highway moves of its own accord from the position in which it was left and is involved in an accident whereby any person is injured or any property (including any animal) is damaged or destroyed, the person who left the motor vehicle so standing must as soon as possible after becoming aware of the accident comply as far as the circumstances permit with the requirements of subsection (1).
(3) If—
(a) as a result of an accident involving a motor vehicle a person is killed or suffers serious injury; and
(b) the driver of the motor vehicle knows or ought reasonably to have known that the accident had occurred and had resulted in a person being killed or suffering serious injury; and
(c) the driver of the motor vehicle does not comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1) in relation to the accident—
the driver is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum) or a level 5 fine (1200 penalty units maximum).
(4) If—
(a) as a result of the accident a person is killed or suffers serious injury then a person who contravenes paragraph (c), (d) or (e) of subsection (1) is guilty of an offence; or
(b) as a result of the accident a person is otherwise injured then a person who contravenes any provision of this section is guilty of an offence—
and liable for a first offence to a penalty of not more than 80 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 8 months and for a subsequent offence to a penalty of not more than 240 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 4 months and not more than 2 years.
(5) If no person is killed or suffers injury as a result of the accident then a person who contravenes any provision of this section is guilty of an offence and liable for a first offence to a penalty of not more than 5 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 days and for a subsequent offence to a penalty of not more than 10 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 14 days and not more than 1 month.
(6) On conviction of a person for, or finding a person guilty of, an offence against this section, if a person is killed or suffers serious injury as a result of the accident, the court must cancel all driver licences and learner permits held by the convicted person and, whether or not that person holds a driver licence or learner permit, disqualify that person from obtaining a driver licence or learner permit for—
(a) in the case of a first offence, at least 4 years if a conviction is recorded and at least 2 years in any other case; and
(b) in the case of a subsequent offence, at least 8 years if a conviction is recorded and at least 4 years in any other case.
(7) If a person who is convicted or found guilty of an offence against any provision of this section has at any time been convicted or found guilty of an offence against another provision of this section or any previous enactment corresponding to any of those provisions, the conviction for, or finding of guilt of, the offence against that provision is to be taken to be a conviction for, or finding of guilt of, a subsequent offence.
(8) The specifying by subsection (3) of fault elements for an offence against that subsection is not intended to affect the question of whether fault
elements are required for any other offence against this section or any other provision of this Act.