The winter weather brings with it an increase of motor vehicle accident and this season, the La Porte Police Department reports officers have been responding to a rash of hit and run crashes.
The department says that far too many drivers involved in accidents are not stopping at the scene, as required by law, to provide information.
Drivers in the State of Indiana are charged with a legal standard of responsibilities that accompany driving privileges on our community’s roadways.
The following is a quick overview of those responsibilities as required by law:
1. STOP. If you are involved in any accident, you MUST stop and provide information to others involved in the accident. It is a serious crime to leave the scene of an accident and can result in the suspension of your driving privileges.
Information you are required to provide includes all of the following:
b. Current address
c. Vehicle registration number of vehicle you are driving
d. Name & address of the owner of the vehicle you are driving, if not you.
e. Names & addresses of any occupants of the vehicle
f. Proof of financial responsibility (insurance company card)
g. You must also present your driver’s license to the other driver or person attending the other vehicle.
2. STOP. If the accident results in injury, death, or entrapment, you MUST stop and IMMEDIATELY notify law enforcement of the accident. You are also required to provide all the information required in Section 1 AND determine the need for and render reasonable assistance to the injured or entrapped.
*A special note about passengers: If the driver of a vehicle is physically incapable of rendering aid, then the legal responsibility falls onto the passenger(s) to do so.
3. STOP. If the accident involves an unattended vehicle, you MUST stop and do one of the following:
a. Locate and notify the owner/ operator of the vehicle you’ve struck and provide the same information required above in Section 1.
b. Leave a written notice on the vehicle in a plain and visible area which includes your name, address and owner information of the vehicle you are driving and a statement detailing the circumstances of the accident.
4. STOP. If the accident involves damage to property other than a vehicle, you MUST stop and do the following:
a. Take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge (agent) of the property of the damage and provide your name, address and registration number of your vehicle, and present your driver’s license.
If, after reasonable attempts, you cannot locate the property owner/ agent, you MUST notify the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the property damage occurred and provide the information required in this section.
When in doubt about your obligation at any accident no matter how small, we always encourage drivers to contact law enforcement as soon as possible. The investigating officer will assess any damage and make a determination as to whether a crash report needs to be completed. The State of Indiana requires a crash report be submitted for any accident with apparent combined damage of $1,000 or more. A report is also mandatory for any accident that results in injury or death.
If you witness a hit and run accident, call 911 immediately and provide a description of the fleeing vehicle and direction of travel.
LaPorte IN Police Department
1206 Michigan Ave
La Porte, IN 46350