Collisions and incidents
The law defines a reportable road traffic collision as a collision involving a mechanically-propelled vehicle on a road or other public area which causes:
- injury or damage to anybody - other than the driver of that vehicle
- injury or damage to an animal - other than one being carried on that vehicle (an animal is classed as a horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog)*
- damage to a vehicle - other than the vehicle which caused the collision
- damage to property built on, attached to, growing in, or otherwise forming part of the land where the road is
*You may also report collisions or incidents involving deer, but this is not a legal requirement.
What to do if you're involved in a road traffic collision
- stop at the scene - it is a legal requirement to stop as soon as it is safe to do so
- switch off your engine
- switch on your hazard lights
- check for any injuries to yourself and any passengers
- exchange details with anyone involved - name, address, car registration number
- provide your insurance details if requested
If you're having trouble getting these details from someone involved or they have left without giving details, call the police on 101 while you're still at the scene of the collision.
When should I call 999?
- if someone is in danger
- if someone has been seriously injured
- you believe a serious offence has been committed
- the collision has caused a blockage or dangerous obstruction of the road
How to report your collision
You don't need to report a collision to the police if you've exchanged details, nobody was injured and there are no allegations of driving offences.
You must report the collision to the police if you were unable to exchange details at the scene, if anyone was injured, or if you suspect that the other person may have committed a driving offence.
Report it online
You can report a collision online
Once you have submitted your form, download a copy for your records and remember to make a note of the form reference number to give to your insurance company.
Report it at a police station
You can report a collision at a police station
You must make your report as soon as possible within 24 hours of the collision.
You are not required to take any documents with you - all details can be found electronically.
In all cases, remember to report the collision to your insurance company as soon as possible.
What happens after reporting a collision?
Your report will be assessed and you'll only be contacted if something further is needed from you, like a witness statement or for you to attend court.
If you report a collision without an injury and or any allegation of bad driving, you're unlikely to be contacted again by the police.
You should inform your insurance company and follow their advice. You can use the reference number as a police reference for insurance purposes.
If you have made an allegation, then your report will be assessed by the police and either:
- the allegation will not be pursued (though it may be used for intel purposes) and the reporter won't be contacted
- action will be taken and a Notice of Intended Prosecution issued to the alleged perpetrator (which will happen without the reporting person being contacted); or
- only in the unlikely event of the matter going to court will the reporting person need to be contacted
You must report the collision no matter who was at fault.
If you don't stop at the scene or report an incident you could be committing an offence and be charged.
The penalties include:
- a fine
- up to six months in prison
- penalty points on your licence
The court can also disqualify you from driving.