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Lesson of the day. Nick off if you have a minor accident

Innovation 12 March 2013 25

Unless someone is injured or if an insurance company gets involved it seems that there is absolutely no point in stopping to report an accident.

I’ve seen a related thread on RA a while ago and now we have experienced something similar. We were hit by another car and the driver stopped, looked at our car and apparently mouthed an apology of sorts. Because we thought he was getting out to provide his details, we (and the witnesses) only managed to get his registration number and the color of the car when he then suddenly drove off.

The damage to our car would be less than the cost of the insurance excess and future increased premiums (eg if we got the license number wrong or the driver disputed liability) so it’s not worth claiming. We FOI’d a copy of the other party’s police report but the police have now advised that there isn’t one and they don’t have the resources to contact the driver and ask why they haven’t reported the accident.

Apparently, the police only pursue hit and runs if someone has been injured or if an insurance company gets involved. As well, they don’t keep a record on their database of vehicles in other accidents (eg to identify someone whose driving skills might be failing or someone who makes a habit of hitting other vehicles and driving off). Even if the police were aware of someone’s poor driving skills apparently there is nothing that they can do to have the person’s license reviewed (although they could raise charges if they had the resources). The Officer that spoke to us admitted that they would only take action when someone was killed or injured.

I remember seeing RA discussion about a site called something like “rate my plate” which at least would keep a running public record of these drivers but I can’t remember the reason it was pulled down – presumably the same privacy reasons that RA can’t show images of number plates or perhaps to avoid liability from any vigilante behaviour.

Anyway the whole thing sucks! End rant.


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25 Responses to
Lesson of the day. Nick off if you have a minor accident
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Innovation 7:24 pm 13 Mar 13

IP – Other than our singular experience (and knowledge of others that may adopt this practice) there is nothing to suggest that this person makes a habit of this. I am inferring, however, that he does.

Alderney – Thank you for going to so much trouble – I was aware of the rules. The point is that we have been informed on two occasions, and by different people, that the police do not (and don’t have the resources to) follow up where an accident report has not been submitted in circumstances such as this. As well, we have had our FOI request returned with the same explanation.

I should note too that this is not the police’s fault; they are under resourced. The fault lies with a deficient vehicle registration database, lack of regulatory powers and penalties for these and many other offences, the need for regular license renewal testing for all and greater police powers to require individuals to be retested (eg the elderly). Having a site such as Rate My Plate would help too.

JC 5:07 pm 13 Mar 13

EvanJames said :

banco said :

There’s always 3 or 4 of them supervising the taxi rank at Canberra airport.

Snow’s personal traffic cops. I would like to know if they’re sworn, or tricked-out protective services. I’ve tried peering at their shoulder things but can’t determine their status at all. I tend to suspect that any vehicle around Barton or the Airport covered in AFP statements are actually not AFP, but protective services.

They are AFP protective services, as opposed to AFP police officers doing ACT police work.

Alderney 1:51 pm 13 Mar 13

Here you go Innovation, I’ve even looked up the relevant section of the ARR for you.

Section 287 of the Australian Road Rules say (in part):

(1) A driver involved in a crash must comply with this rule.
Offence provision.
(2) The driver must stop at the scene of the crash and give the driver’s required particulars, within the required time and, if practicable, at the scene of the crash, to:
(a) any other driver (or that driver’s representative) involved in the crash;
(c) the owner of any property (including any vehicle) damaged in the crash (or the owner’s representative), unless, in the case of damage to a vehicle, the particulars are given to the driver of the vehicle (or the driver’s representative).

It also states:

The driver must also give the driver’s required particulars, within the required time, to a police officer if:
(b) the driver does not, for any reason, give the driver’s required particulars to each person mentioned in subrule (2); or
(c) the required particulars for any other driver involved in the crash are not given to the driver

(4) For this rule: required particulars, for a driver involved in a crash, means:
(a) the driver’s name and address; and
(b) the name and address of the owner of the driver’s
vehicle; and
(c) the vehicle’s registration number (if any); and
(d) any other information necessary to identify the vehicle;
for subrule (3), includes any other information required to be given to a police officer

I’d go back to the police and request them to follow up on your report.

EvanJames 10:36 am 13 Mar 13

banco said :

There’s always 3 or 4 of them supervising the taxi rank at Canberra airport.

Snow’s personal traffic cops. I would like to know if they’re sworn, or tricked-out protective services. I’ve tried peering at their shoulder things but can’t determine their status at all. I tend to suspect that any vehicle around Barton or the Airport covered in AFP statements are actually not AFP, but protective services.

kumadude 10:35 am 13 Mar 13

There is no such thing as an accident, there is only inconsiderate uncoordinated negligent folk who feel they have no duty of care regarding others in the community.
I look forward to the day there is no more development in Canberra, at least half of the halfwitts will then leave.

rhino 9:57 am 13 Mar 13

I would prefer the police be working on chasing the person who damage other’s property and cause them immediate direct harm, rather than setting up speed traps all day on roads where no serious accidents occur, busting minor speeders who cause no immediate direct harm. Driving into my car may cost me over a grand. Mugging me and stealing my wallet would definitely not cost me that much. So I see costing someone a grand in damage and having to go without a car for days or a week while it’s repaired as no minor offence! What if they had no insurance of their own or didn’t want to lose their no claim bonus and hence cost themselves many many more dollars over their life time? It could cost thousands for repairing some cars and potentially getting a hire car while that is repaired if they don’t work somewhere suitable to other transport arrangements.

IrishPete 8:46 am 13 Mar 13

Innovation said :

goggles13 said :

enrique said :

tim_c said :

Is it even possible to have a collision without one (or both) party/ies committing an offence?

But in the scheme of things, a minor traffic issue that was an honest accident, where nobody gets hurt and where there is only very minimal damage would be very low in the order of priority in relation to other offences that need to be policed.

so why do the police/authorities target specific driving offences in a particular month, even if none of the offences result in damage or injuries.

how would you know if the person who just hit you, wasn’t a repeat offender who had a bad driving record? there are no honest accidents, people do stupid things and deserve to be punished

I thought that not reporting an accident within 24 hours was an offence.

The problem with claiming through insurance is if there is any difficulty finding the individual or getting them to admit liability we will get hit with all of the insurance penalties. (I have been through that process once before for a much more serious accident and, when my insurance company gave up fighting after six months and decided to take my excess, I then had to take up the fight to successfully get the other party to even admit that they had an accident).

The damage to our car is not significant but it’s the inference that this guy makes a habit of regularly driving off when he has caused an accident that irks and worries me. I agree that the police have insufficient resources but it doesn’t cost much to ring someone and ask them to come in and fill in an accident report. Also, it would be a simple matter for the registration database to include details of unreported accidents against registrations and then, after a certain number start investigating. It’s these type of people who progressively get worse and eventually may hit someone – perhaps even a child.

I am aware of another case of an older driver who regularly hit other cars and drove off. It seemed that everyone including the police were powerless to do anything. The system relies on the Doctor, who signs off on the person’s fitness to drive, finally deciding that a test might be appropriate.

Regular driver testing might help too, but no-one seems keen to implement that idea either.

Inference? I think you probably mean implication.

IP the Pedant

IrishPete 8:45 am 13 Mar 13

gooterz said :

Failing to give details at an accident is a big no no.

How do they know that no body was hurt?

Its not as if the cops do much in this town, still hunting for 10 year old murderer and are never patrolling the roads for bad driving and will only stop people if they are going heaps over the limit going to or from the mall.

If you know the identity of this 10 year old murderer, you can collect a substantial reward. I presume they must be aged about 20 by now. However, a 10yo is unlikely to be prosecuted for murder.

IP the Pedant

JC 7:32 am 13 Mar 13

PS As other posters have said it does surprise me the police won’t do anything to chase this person though. As mentioned not stopping to provide details in an accident and failing to report an accident within 24 hours are both offences.

JC 7:29 am 13 Mar 13

banco said :

gooterz said :

Failing to give details at an accident is a big no no.

How do they know that no body was hurt?

Its not as if the cops do much in this town, still hunting for 10 year old murderer and are never patrolling the roads for bad driving and will only stop people if they are going heaps over the limit going to or from the mall.

There’s always 3 or 4 of them supervising the taxi rank at Canberra airport.

There are 3 types of AFP officers in Canberra. The ones at the airport are AFP protective services who’s job it is is to ‘protect’ things like the airport, diplomats etc, they get around normally in red coloured cars.

Then there are normal AFP officers who look after national policing issues (drugs, people trafficking etc) and then finally there are AFP officers who are contracted by the ACT government to do ACT policing, they get around in police cars with ACT number plates.

So clearly the ones you see at the airport are not part of what is essentially the “ACT police force”.

milkman 6:42 am 13 Mar 13

enrique said :

But in the scheme of things, a minor traffic issue that was an honest accident, where nobody gets hurt and where there is only very minimal damage would be very low in the order of priority in relation to other offences that need to be policed.

+1.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 6:41 am 13 Mar 13

banco said :

gooterz said :

Failing to give details at an accident is a big no no.

How do they know that no body was hurt?

Its not as if the cops do much in this town, still hunting for 10 year old murderer and are never patrolling the roads for bad driving and will only stop people if they are going heaps over the limit going to or from the mall.

There’s always 3 or 4 of them supervising the taxi rank at Canberra airport.

Yeah that’s so gross. Does anyone know if snow even pays for them?

banco 12:21 am 13 Mar 13

gooterz said :

Failing to give details at an accident is a big no no.

How do they know that no body was hurt?

Its not as if the cops do much in this town, still hunting for 10 year old murderer and are never patrolling the roads for bad driving and will only stop people if they are going heaps over the limit going to or from the mall.

There’s always 3 or 4 of them supervising the taxi rank at Canberra airport.

gooterz 12:01 am 13 Mar 13

Failing to give details at an accident is a big no no.

How do they know that no body was hurt?

Its not as if the cops do much in this town, still hunting for 10 year old murderer and are never patrolling the roads for bad driving and will only stop people if they are going heaps over the limit going to or from the mall.

Tooks 9:07 pm 12 Mar 13

I haven’t read the other replies, but I can tell you you were given the wrong advice. The other driver has committed – at the very least – two offences. There’s no reason why it can’t be followed up.

Innovation 6:15 pm 12 Mar 13

goggles13 said :

enrique said :

tim_c said :

Is it even possible to have a collision without one (or both) party/ies committing an offence?

But in the scheme of things, a minor traffic issue that was an honest accident, where nobody gets hurt and where there is only very minimal damage would be very low in the order of priority in relation to other offences that need to be policed.

so why do the police/authorities target specific driving offences in a particular month, even if none of the offences result in damage or injuries.

how would you know if the person who just hit you, wasn’t a repeat offender who had a bad driving record? there are no honest accidents, people do stupid things and deserve to be punished

I thought that not reporting an accident within 24 hours was an offence.

The problem with claiming through insurance is if there is any difficulty finding the individual or getting them to admit liability we will get hit with all of the insurance penalties. (I have been through that process once before for a much more serious accident and, when my insurance company gave up fighting after six months and decided to take my excess, I then had to take up the fight to successfully get the other party to even admit that they had an accident).

The damage to our car is not significant but it’s the inference that this guy makes a habit of regularly driving off when he has caused an accident that irks and worries me. I agree that the police have insufficient resources but it doesn’t cost much to ring someone and ask them to come in and fill in an accident report. Also, it would be a simple matter for the registration database to include details of unreported accidents against registrations and then, after a certain number start investigating. It’s these type of people who progressively get worse and eventually may hit someone – perhaps even a child.

I am aware of another case of an older driver who regularly hit other cars and drove off. It seemed that everyone including the police were powerless to do anything. The system relies on the Doctor, who signs off on the person’s fitness to drive, finally deciding that a test might be appropriate.

Regular driver testing might help too, but no-one seems keen to implement that idea either.

goggles13 5:42 pm 12 Mar 13

enrique said :

tim_c said :

Is it even possible to have a collision without one (or both) party/ies committing an offence?

But in the scheme of things, a minor traffic issue that was an honest accident, where nobody gets hurt and where there is only very minimal damage would be very low in the order of priority in relation to other offences that need to be policed.

so why do the police/authorities target specific driving offences in a particular month, even if none of the offences result in damage or injuries.

how would you know if the person who just hit you, wasn’t a repeat offender who had a bad driving record? there are no honest accidents, people do stupid things and deserve to be punished

tim_c 4:04 pm 12 Mar 13

enrique said :

It’s a capacity issue really. We don’t have enough police resources to warrant focussing on such trivial issues and quite frankly I’d be a bit peeved it if we did. If we had enough spare time/capacity in our police force to enable them to spend days/possibly weeks chasing up each and every minor traffic incident that would mean we weren’t allocating our limited tax budgets appropriately.

True, but some crashes really irk me – they may not have resulted in a serious injury (or death) this time, but could have easily done so, and very likely could next time.

Each time it rains, there’s usually someone who spins out on the bend going from Capital Circle to Adelaide Ave. It’s obviously not a problem with the road because thousands of other drivers manage to negotiate the bend safely, but there’s the occasional reckless individual who can’t, and the result is a car out of control spinning out on a busy road shared with motorcyclists and push-bicyclists among others – there is no action taken against them unless they actually manage to maim/kill someone else. But if someone was to carelessly discharge a firearm in a busy mall, would we let them off because they didn’t happen to injure/kill someone this time?!

Or the crash this morning on Adelaide Avenue (or was it Commonwealth Avenue) – a couple of people being impatient and not being willing to wait a few extra seconds on their 20 minute commute ended up inconveniencing a lot of other people. The costs to the community for this type of thing are huge – on the F3 north of Sydney, it is estimated at around $3,000,000 per hour of delay! – Adelaide Ave isn’t quite a busy as the F3, but the cost of the delays from this morning’s episode would still be significant, and the people concerned don’t get so much disincentive as a slap on the wrist (unless someone was seriously injured/killed).

Finally, there’s the bloke who knowingly rammed me because he thought I was in his way (nevermind that I’d have been long gone if he’d actually stopped at the stop sign like he was supposed to) – because the injuries he inflicted were only minor (not requiring treatment at the scene), the Collision Report gets filed without even being looked at, yet his attitude is one that shouldn’t be allowed to continue unchecked.

enrique 3:13 pm 12 Mar 13

tim_c said :

Is it even possible to have a collision without one (or both) party/ies committing an offence?

Good question…

I don’t know for sure…

But in the scheme of things, a minor traffic issue that was an honest accident, where nobody gets hurt and where there is only very minimal damage would be very low in the order of priority in relation to other offences that need to be policed.

It’s a capacity issue really. We don’t have enough police resources to warrant focussing on such trivial issues and quite frankly I’d be a bit peeved it if we did. If we had enough spare time/capacity in our police force to enable them to spend days/possibly weeks chasing up each and every minor traffic incident that would mean we weren’t allocating our limited tax budgets appropriately.

p1 2:36 pm 12 Mar 13

I suggest that when your neck starts hurting tonight (as a delayed result of the accident), you go and update the police report to include someone being injured….

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