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

By 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.

What’s Your opinion?


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25 Responses to
Lesson of the day. Nick off if you have a minor accident
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….

Very Busy 1:58 pm 12 Mar 13

You could still go through your insurance company. If you claim that the other driver was at fault and you have their registration number you should still contact your insurer and discuss it with them. If you provide your insurer with the accident report case number they will usually do all the ground work to track down the other party and not charge you the excess.

thebrownstreak69 1:39 pm 12 Mar 13

Just give the whole thing to your insurance company and advise them of the number plate of the car that hit you, and provide any witness details.

They will sort it out, get your car fixed, and it will cost you nothing (assuming you weren’t at fault). Your no-claim bonus won’t be affected by a not-at-fault claim.

tim_c 1:35 pm 12 Mar 13

enrique said :

Can see where the police are coming from though… unless an actual offence has been committed or if someone has been injured (i.e. endangering the public possibly the cause) then it’s not in their domain. There is nothing they can do.

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

After trying to follow up on a recent incident, ACT Policing told me they don’t even receive accident reports where no one is seriously injured (ie. requires treatment at the scene) or killed – it seems the reports just go into some filing cabinet at TAMS and never even see the light of day.

enrique 12:56 pm 12 Mar 13

Yep, true it sucks. Have been in the same boat myself.

Can see where the police are coming from though… unless an actual offence has been committed or if someone has been injured (i.e. endangering the public possibly the cause) then it’s not in their domain. There is nothing they can do.

It is a minor accident between two parties.. same as if you accidentally bump a shopping trolley into someones pushbike on the footpath… nobody injured, minor damage to the pushbike… not much the police can actually do. There is no law governing minor accidents (once again, assuming no offense has been committed). Sometimes pure accidents unfortunately do happen – it is a civil matter for you and possibly your insurance company to follow up.

Erg0 12:55 pm 12 Mar 13

Maybe the ratemyplate folks realised that giving fuddy-duddies a place to whinge about the WRX that cut them off this morning wasn’t providing much value to society?

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