Reporting Traffic Accidents & Ensuring Assistance
Late last year WA police were conducting an investigation into what had happened to a woman who was found seriously injured in bushland area near Broome. Reportedly that the woman’s injuries were consistent with being struck by a motor vehicle.
The woman was flown to Perth and treated in the Royal Perth Hospital. At the time the police said that the injuries to the woman had impacted her memory which made it difficult for the police to attain important information from her. The police also said that if the woman was hit by a car, there was a possibility that the driver may not even have been aware of this occurring.
In January 2022 a police officer was seriously injured after allegedly being struck by a car while conducting vehicle speed checks in Perth’s east. The driver of the vehicle did not stop. Police said a black and red 1982 Ford ute was travelling east on Great Eastern Highway about 9.45 pm on Thursday the 13th January when officers tried to pull it over. However, the vehicle failed to stop and hit the officer, before taking off. The alleged driver of the vehicle, a man in his 30s, was subsequently arrested and charged.
In Western Australia, traffic laws applicable to traffic offences are contained in the Road Traffic Act 1974.
Providing Your Details and Reporting an Accident to Police
If you are involved in a road accident or an accident that occurs on a road or any place commonly used by the public, such as an alleyway or carpark, you must report the incident to police if:
- A person has been injured; or
- The total of the property damage is estimated to be worth more than $3,000; or
- The person or a representative of the person who owns the property that has been damaged (a building, another vehicle) is not present.
Police may attend the scene or ask you to log a report online. Police will request your details and you must provide them. Failing to give your information to police, or giving false information is an offence and will likely result in financial penalties. The court can, in the circumstances, also disqualify the offender from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for such period as the court thinks fit.
You also have an obligation to provide your details to anyone else involved in the incident. Failing to do so may constitute an offence.
If there is an injury or death or bodily harm
If the driver fails to immediately report the incident to the police and the traffic incident caused a serious injury or resulted in death, the penalty upon conviction of a charge on an indictment is 10 years imprisonment and a minimum of one year disqualification from driving.
If the charges are dealt with in the summary court the penalty is 12 months imprisonment and a minimum period of one year disqualification from driving.
If a driver was unaware that the traffic incident occurred, then that may act as a defence to the charge.
Driver in incident occasioning bodily harm to stop, ensure assistance
If a vehicle driven by a person (the driver) is involved in an incident occasioning bodily harm to another person (a victim), the driver must ensure that each victim receives all the assistance, including medical aid, that is necessary and practicable in the circumstances.
A person who fails to stop and render assistance commits a crime and the offender is liable
- 20 years imprisonment, if the incident occasioned death and, in any event, the court convicting the person must order that the person be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for a period of not less than 2 years;
- 14 years imprisonment, if the incident occasioned grievous bodily harm but not death and, in any event, the court convicting the person must order that the person be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for a period of not less than 2 years;
- 10 years imprisonment, in any other case and, in any event, the court convicting the person must order that the person be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for a period of not less than 12 months.
PLEASE NOTE: The material in this blog post is for informational use only and should not be construed as legal advice. For answers to your questions regarding this or other topics, please contact a professional legal representative.