The Arrive Alive website received the following request for assistance earlier today:
I recently started driving this year and I got into my first accident this year on Friday afternoon. The accident wasn’t a big one just our cars scratched each other and I was at fault. I didn’t stop as I was scared so I took off. I would like to know what kind of legal consequences would I be charged with and whether there is still anything I can do to change the situation which is already looking bad for me.
Thank you for reading, Hope to hear your response soon.
You still need to report to SAPS ASAP!! Will refer for a response!
I think it’s too late now as police came to my house. I am currently in holding cell waiting for a court appointment at 09:00 AM, I have tried to call the victim so we could settle this out of court.
I hope the victim picks up the call, would I need a lawyer?
Response from Justice Project:
I was busy with a reply, lecturing you with the provisions of Section 61 of the National Road Traffic Act which prescribes the “duty of a driver in event of accident” which forms an integral part of the LEARNER’S LICENCE theory test, but clearly it’s way too late for that. Hit and run is an extremely serious offence and one for which the mandatory suspension of your driving licence is prescribed (upon conviction).
You probably should consider engaging the services of a legal professional to minimise the consequences which will arise out of a conviction, which, by the sounds of it, is sure to arise out of this incident. Trying to contact the complainant could be interpreted as interfering with a police action and I would therefore urge you to cease trying to contact the person whose property you damaged and didn’t so much as bother to stop, as is required by the National Road Traffic Act.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC) Association Not For Gain | Incorporated as a non-profit company under the Companies Act, 2008 | Registration Number 2010/019972/08
THE LAW and HIT and Run: Section 61 of The National Road Traffic Act
- Duty of driver in event of accident
- 61. (1) The driver of a vehicle on a public road at the time when such vehicle is involved in or contributes to any accident in which any other person is killed or injured or suffers damage in respect of any property or animal shall-
- (a) immediately stop the vehicle;
- (b) ascertain the nature and extent of any injury sustained by any person; (c) if a person is injured, render such assistance to the injured person as he or she may be capable of rendering;
- (d) ascertain the nature and extent of any damage sustained;
- (e) if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give his or her name and address, the name and address of owner of the vehicle driven by him or her and, in the case of a motor vehicle, the registration or similar mark thereof;
- (f) if he or she has not already furnished the information referred to in paragraph (e) to a traffic officer at the scene of the accident, and unless he or she is incapable of doing so by reason of injuries sustained by him or her in the accident, as soon as is reasonably practicable, and in any case within 24 hours after the occurrence of such accident, report the accident to any police officer at a police station or at any office set aside by a competent authority for use by traffic officer, and there produce his or her driving licence and furnish his or her identity number and such information as is referred to in that paragraph; and
- (g) not, except on the instructions of or when administered by a medical practitioner in the case of injury or shock, take any intoxicating liquor or drug having a narcotic effect unless he or she has complied with the provisions of paragraph (f), where it is his or her duty to do so, and has been examined by a medical practitioner if such examination is required by a traffic officer.
- (2) No person shall remove any vehicle involved in an accident in which another person is killed or injured from the position in which it came to rest,
- until such removal has been authorised by a traffic officer, except when such accident causes complete obstruction of the roadway of a public road, in which event the vehicle involved may, without such authority and after its position has been clearly marked on the surface of the roadway by the person moving it, be moved sufficiently to allow the passage of traffic.
- (3) Subject to subsection (2), no person shall remove a vehicle involved in an accident from the scene of such accident, except for the purpose of sufficiently allowing the passage of traffic, without the permission of the owner, driver or operator of such vehicle or a person who may lawfully take possession of such vehicle.
- (4) In any prosecution for a contravention of any provision of this section it shall be presumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the accused was aware of the fact that the accident had occurred, and that he or she did not report the accident or furnish the information as required by subsection (1)(f).
- (5) In this section the word “animal” means any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig, ostrich or dog.