Drivers ‘unaware of the legal requirement’ to report collisions

12.00 | 12 January 2017 | | 6 comments

A new study has found that a significant proportion of drivers involved in a ‘hit and run’ incident failed to stop because they didn’t think the incident was serious enough to report, or were unaware of the legal requirement to do so.

Published today (12 Jan), the study, conducted by the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester on behalf of the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), involved a survey of, and interviews with, 695 people who had been convicted of committing a ‘hit and run’ offence.

The MIB describes the findings as ‘alarming’.

More than 12% of UK road traffic collisions reported to the police in which someone is injured, involve a ‘hit and run’ driver. This equates to more than 17,000 incidents and for the past two years the number has increased, reversing the trend seen over the past decade.

‘Hit and run’ drivers can be convicted for failing to stop and failing to report an accident. This can lead to punishments ranging from five to 10 penalty points, discretionary disqualification, an unlimited fine or even imprisonment.

The study found that many drivers think about their own self-preservation rather than any responsibility to report – for example, they may have criminality to hide or be driving without insurance

It also found that, in many cases, drivers do not consider the incident to be serious and some claim they have no knowledge of the incident. Many people who hit and run are under the influence of alcohol, which impairs their judgment.

The report goes on to categorise hit and run drivers into six groups that are linked to motivational behaviours: the oblivious, the uncertain departers, the panickers and the rational escapists, the intimidated and the impaired or ‘non compos mentis.’

Dr Matt Hopkins, University of Leicester, said: “The reasons behind why people hit and run are complex but by breaking drivers down into categories we start to understand their motivations for leaving the scene of an accident.

“Interestingly, there seems to be a public perception that motoring offences are not ‘real crimes’ and therefore there is a tendency for drivers to justify their behaviour.”

The report also makes a number of recommendations to help address the issue, including:

  • Educating drivers about their responsibilities and exactly what needs to be done in the event of an accident.
  • Developing easy ways of reporting accidents including via a website or online app.
  • Raisinging awareness  for drivers through theory tests and speed awareness courses.

Ashton West, OBE, chief executive, MIB, said: “Hit and runs can have an everlasting impact on the victims and their families. We handle 15,000 claims a year for victims of ‘hit and runs’ and felt an imperative to commission the University of Leicester to do this research to gain an understanding of this area.  

“We will be focusing on the recommendations that help raise awareness and educate drivers about their responsibilities.”

Related stories

New research identifies reasons why drivers ‘hit and run’
19 April 2016



Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    Unfortunately, basic honesty seems to be a thing of the past in today’s society, where now it seems to be accepted that “bending the rules” or “it’s okay, provided you don’t get caught!” or “putting one over on the authorities” is the guiding principle and almost become things to brag about. It applies to behaviour on the road just as much as in other areas of daily life.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Unfortunately, far too often its not just “fail to stop” or even “hit and run” but more likely “maim and flee” or “kill and drive off” for vulnerable road users.

    As far as being ignorant of the law is concerned this does not absolve one of guilt for breaking it. And perhaps those commenting would be more credible if their name comprised more than a gender unspecific shortened name and country as a location!

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Somewhat understandable statistics when one takes into account the other stats that over one million drivers have no insurance and that is out of a total of 35 million drivers.

    I would further ask the question as this is the second year of increases after a decade of declines, what has happened recently to cause the increase? Can any cause be actually pinpointed?

    Bob Craven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I agree with David, lamenting the use of the hit and run term. More so, the inference is that hit and runs infers guilt whereas failed to stop covers all aspects including ignorance as a well as guilt. Bring back the English language or better still give us the percentages of the 6 categories of hit and run so we can be informed and decide for ourselves.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    On the subject of under-reporting generally – can anyone advise if the ambulance service are obliged to report an injury accident themselves to the police, if they believe, or it is apparent that this has not already been done, when called to an incident? Would the ambulance control room automatically do this when the first report comes in to them of an injury accident?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Am I the only one to lament the apparent passing of the phrase ‘fail to stop’? Why have we moved over to the awful American version?

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.