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Section 170 Road Traffic Act

UK motoring law requires all drivers to stop at the scene of an accident when damage is caused to another vehicle, when personal injury is caused to any other person, or if damage occurs to a roadside fixture such as a sign or fence, or if any animal is hit. This legislation is also referred to as the Section 170 Road Traffic Act, and if you fail to stop, report or exchange contact details with relevant parties following an accident, then you face the risk of penalty points, fines and imprisonment.

Failed To Stop Or Report An Accident?

If you have been sent a Court Summons relating to the Section 170 Road Traffic Act, then you could be charged or face hefty penalties. You should instruct the services of an experienced motor defence solicitor as soon as possible, especially if you already have a large number of penalty points on your licence. Caddick Davies Solicitors specialise in the representation of motorists who find themselves up against the charge of failure to stop after an accident and can help you. 

When Do You Need A Lawyer?

Caddick Davies is a firm of experienced motor defence solicitors specialising in representing motorists who find themselves charged with offences of failing to stop and report an accident, contrary to Section 170(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Keeping driving endorsements to a minimum is important to protecting your ability to drive legally. Without your driving licence, the impact on your work, livelihood and family could be devastating. The services of an expert motoring defence solicitor will give you the best chance of keeping your driving licence when facing motor offence charges.

We have successfully defended many motorists charged with this offence and so If you have been sent a Court Summons for failing to stop and report an accident, or for driving without due care and attention, which are offences that are often paired together, then please contact our friendly team for advice and no-obligation consultation.


Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


Our team works to give drivers the best chance of overturning the charges or fines made against them by establishing the facts to build a strong defence or appeals case with an expert defence counsel that can be relied on in court.

Read on to understand more about failing to stop after an accident and how a Solicitor can help you.

What Does The Law Say?

You are likely to hear a Section 170 offence more commonly referred to as ‘failure to stop at the scene of an accident. The law simply states that if you have an accident on a road or other public place which results in damage to another vehicle, personal injury to any other person, damage to a roadside fixture such as a sign or fence, or any animal, then you are required to stop immediately at the scene to exchange your name, address and vehicle details with any other person that may reasonably require them.

If it isn’t possible to exchange details for any reason, for example, if the accident occurred very late at night, the accident occurred in a remote area, or there were no witnesses, then it is your duty as the driver to report the accident to the police as soon as reasonably practical, and certainly within 24 hours.

If you are facing legal issues as a result of failing to stop or report an accident promptly, then you should seek expert legal advice to stand the best chance of protecting your licence.


Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


What Is The Penalty For Failing To Stop Or Report An Accident?

The maximum penalty for failing to stop and failing to report an accident is imprisonment for 6 months and the endorsement of between 5 and 10 penalty points on your driving licence for each offence.

In the most severe cases, where death or serious injury has occurred, then a disqualification from driving can also be issued. You could also be imprisoned if you have driven away knowing that there had been a collision as leaving the scene of an accident is taken very seriously.

If you are being prosecuted for both failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident where the offences relate to the same incident, then you would only expect to receive penalty points for one offence, not both.

Adding 5-10 points to your driving licence is a big deal, especially if you already have active endorsements as you may face a totting up ban on top of the original Section 170 offence. A totting up ban is an automatic driving ban that is handed to drivers who accumulate 12 or more points on their driving licence within three years. This means that if you already have 6 points on your licence, from speeding offences for example, and are now facing further penalty points due to failing to stop or report an accident, then you could be at risk of losing your licence under a ‘totting up’ ban on top of your punishment for this offence.

It is therefore especially important to seek legal advice if you are facing charges that may result in you totting up enough points to result in a driving ban as a solicitor can defend the claims made against you and/or minimise any fine and penalty points imposed.

Find out more about totting up bans in our blog; totting up ban, what do you need to know.

Should I Report Collisions With Animals Too?

Yes, you should report collisions with animals too. The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that you must stop and report an accident involving damage, or in the case of animals, injury to any of the following animals; Horse, Cattle, Ass, Mule, Sheep, Pig, Goat or Dog.

If you fail to report an accident involving any of the animals listed, then you have committed an offence.

Whilst you are not required to report an accident involving a cat, it can be argued that it is the right thing to do from a moral standpoint. A police log of the incident would mean that the owners stand a chance of knowing what has happened to their pet during their enquiries.

What If I Didn’t Know I Hit Something?

It can quite often be the case that you may hit another object or vehicle without realising it. This may sound unlikely on the face of it but imagine this scenario;

Imagine that you’re leaving the car park of the supermarket and gently brush against a trolley or another vehicle when reversing out of your parking space. At very low speeds, with a radio on, you could quite legitimately be unaware that contact had occurred, or that any resulting damage was caused.

In this case, you would still have a legal duty to stop and report the accident but you would also have a genuine defence that you did not know that you were involved in an accident, therefore, did not know that you needed to report it. Establishing these kinds of facts is key to putting together a strong defence and is exactly how an experienced motoring defence solicitor can help you when assessing your case.

It’s worth noting that even if you become aware of the accident within 24 hours of it taking place, which, using the example above, might be when you get home and unload your shopping, then you are still legally required to report it in the same way as if you’d known about it at the time that it occurred.

If you find yourself being investigated or with a Summons to appear before the Magistrates’ Court for an offence of failing to stop and report an accident, please contact us for advice and no-obligation consultation to discuss how we can help you.


Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


Defence Against The Charges

If your case makes it to court, then the prosecution team must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that injury or damage was caused. If in your case of failing to stop, or failing to report an accident, no injury or damage occurred, then the charges against you will shift towards the failure to report the accident.

Most commonly, you can use the defence that you were unaware that the accident had occurred but if the evidence is then presented to prove that an accident did take place, then your Solicitor will need to show that on the balance of probabilities you did not know that there had been an accident at the time.

How Can Caddick Davies Help?

As a highly experienced team of specialist motor defence lawyers, we offer advice and representation for individuals facing motoring offences across the UK.

In any case, relating to a Section 170 offence, we will assess each case presented to us individually and without judgement to identify any factual or technical defence that can be used to overturn the charge in Court or minimise the fines and/or penalty points that you are facing.

The specialist team of lawyers at Caddick Davies will:

  1. review all the evidence of your case to establish the facts
  2. build a strong defence by gathering evidence and presenting your case
  3. provide a defence counsel that you can rely on in court
  4. provide legal advice and consultation throughout your case

When working with you to put together a strong defence, we will consider the following arguments and factual defence angles;

  • You were not involved in an accident;
  • There was no damage caused;
  • You stopped or reported the accident; and
  • You were unaware of any accident or damage, therefore you were not aware that you should stop or report the accident.

Whilst we’re proud of our over 90% defence success rate, we can make no guarantees right here about your change of success without reviewing the specific details of your case as every case has unique factors to consider. We will however always provide you with our honest opinion as to the strength of your case so that you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.

Related Questions

What Is The Correct Way To Report An Accident? 

If you are ever in an accident that involves damage to other people, animals or property, then you must know your obligations when it comes to reporting it properly.

If you are involved in an accident that results in injury to another person, damage to another vehicle, or animal, and damage to property including fixtures such as fences, walls and signs, then you are required to stop at the scene and provide your contact information to any person who may reasonably require them.

If you follow this step, then you do not need to call the police or visit a police station.

If there is nobody around at the scene of the accident, or you can’t identify the owner of the property after taking reasonable steps to do so, such as knocking on nearby doors, then you must report the incident to a police station within 24 hours.

Most police stations allow you to report accidents via an online form so there is no need to visit the station in person. You can use the handy ‘find a police station’ website to get the contact details of your nearest constabulary who will be able to direct you to the best way to report the accident.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies
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