When a driver won’t exchange information after a crash

The in basket:  Ted Moore writes, “I was involved (recently) in a rear-end collision, where a young driver stated that she glanced down at something and failed to notice that I was slowing for traffic. The result, a relatively slow-speed collision.

“While talking to the driver, I did notice that she did have a proof of
insurance card, but when I asked to see it, she refused. She did offer
information from her driver’s license, but not the insurance card.

“What information is required, by law, to be
shared between drivers in the event of an accident? And what are the
consequences if any information is refused to be shared?”

The out basket: Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the State Patrol here says refusing to provide insurance information to another involved driver in an accident is considered hit and run driving.

The law reads, “The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident … resulting in damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person or damage to other property shall give his or her name, address, insurance company, insurance policy number, and vehicle license number and shall exhibit his or her vehicle driver’s license to any person struck or injured or the driver or any occupant of, or any person attending, any such vehicle collided with.

Krista said, “Failing to provide any information becomes hit and run.  If someone is involved in a collision and one driver will only provide limited information, call law enforcement.  Often, people are more willing to give the information if an officer is present.”

The law also addresses accidents in which someone is injured or killed, making refusal to provide the specified information in those cases a felony.

6 thoughts on “When a driver won’t exchange information after a crash

  1. Additional information: I did call 911 and requested an officer to the scene. The 911 operator redirected me to the local police and was informed that since it was a minor accident, that there was no need for an officer to come. I asked the 911 operator about exchanging information and then gave my phone to the other driver, who was told by the 911 operator that it was required by law to exchange information… yet she still refused. All this information is now in the hands of my insurance company.

  2. I think you did the best you could, Ted. There is a huge gap between official police policy and actual practice.

  3. “Krista said, “Failing to provide any information becomes hit and run. If someone is involved in a collision and one driver will only provide limited information, call law enforcement.”

    If a person can refuse to obey a law and police departments don’t respond … our laws become a joke…shouldn’t we remove the law?

  4. I’m amazed anyone refused. She might have been cautiously afraid to give information to a male stranger and I can understand that.

    It raises the question though: why do we pay legislators to make new laws if we can’t or don’t enforce the current ones?
    Maybe legislators should guarantee each new law has the funding to enforce it. Our law enforcement folks might appreciate having the funding and people to enforce the laws they’re hired to enforce.

    Be interesting to see what your insurance company does…

  5. Travis..,. If you had an email address up by your name I would send this directly to you..

    That said: What happens when (my opinion) common sense beats a driving law?

    Yesterday I had a visitor with her granddaughter and shuddered when they were ready to leave and the little girl was alone in the back seat of the convertible in a regular seat belt and I questioned it. She called her daughter about the seat belt law and discovered that legal age to sit in the front seat is six inches taller than the little girl,a tall little girl, only 7… and that was that. The first unexpected fast stop would likely have tossed her out if she was unstrapped.

    Kids forget and fiddle with stuff. I’d never trust a 7 year old alone in the back seat of a convertible and would have moved her to the passenger seat to keep an eye on her. I’ve rarely known a child to not fiddle with buckles…without thinking or deliberately disobeying the seat belt rule she could have easily unstrapped herself unknowing to the driver.

    Kids are kids and the ones old enough to unstrap themselves shouldn’t be trusted alone in the back seat of a car – IF seat belts really make a difference..in my opinion.

  6. A 7 year old is old enough to know better than to mess with seat belts. Mine is 10 and has been sitting by himself in the back seat since he was born. Besides, WA state law says that children have to be 13 to sit in the front because the seat belts don’t fit right and an air bag deploying will hurt them when they are younger.

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