If you’re involved in a traffic accident in Queensland, do you have to notify the police?

Traffic accidents can be scary and leave you feeling shaken up. However, it’s important that you don’t leave the scene without understanding your legal obligations. If you’re not sure what to do, ring a traffic lawyer on the Gold Coast for immediate advice.

Whether you have to notify anyone depends on the circumstances and type of accident.

When to ring 000 (triple zero)

You must stop at the scene and notify emergency services if:

  • The accident has resulted in death or injury that requires medical attention; or
  • The accident has caused a hazard or threat to public safety, for example if a truck is blocking the road, a fuel spill has occurred or a power line is down

When to ring Policelink

Stop at the scene and call Policelink on 131 444 if:

  • You suspect or know of the involvement of drugs or alcohol in the crash; or
  • A driver is failing or refusing to provide required details; or
  • A driver requires police assistance due to an impairment or disability

When you may leave the scene

If the above criteria don’t apply, you may leave the scene after you have:

  • Exchanged information with the other driver/s; and
  • Arranged movement of the vehicle (if safe to do so)

If the crash involved a vehicle that needed towing, you must still report it to the police within 24 hours. You can do so via Policelink or online. You may also report a ‘non-reportable’ crash online if you choose to, for insurance or other purposes.

If you are charged with leaving the scene

Penalties for leaving the scene can be severe. Call a traffic lawyer on the Gold Coast for advice if you are charged with leaving the scene.

The requirement to stop at the scene if a person is killed or injured is laid out in s 92 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.

The penalty is up to 20 penalty units ($2757) or imprisonment for one year. If the incident resulted in death or grievous bodily injury, the penalty may be as high as 120 penalty units ($16,542) or 3 years’ imprisonment. If the court is satisfied that you showed ‘callous disregard’ for the needs of the injured person, imprisonment must include at least part of the penalty.

Failure to stop at a scene and exchange information, even if nobody is killed or injured, is also an offence. In this case, the penalty is up to 20 penalty units ($2757) but does not attract a possible period of imprisonment on its own.

Depending on the circumstances, you may also be charged with concurrent offences, such as dangerous driving. This may result in a harsher sentence.

If you have been charged with any traffic offence, including leaving the scene of an accident, get in touch with our traffic lawyers in the Gold Coast. These can be very serious charges and it is important that you get legal advice as soon as possible.