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Traffic Defense Articles

§600. Leaving the Scene of an Accident without Reporting

by Seth Azria on 4/09/2020

Syracuse, NY Traffic Lawyer Represents drivers charged with leaving the scene of an accident

Consequences of Conviction

  • Points: 3 
  • Fine: $0-$250
  • Surcharge: $88, city courts, or $93 town and village courts

Practice Commentary

This statute is designed to prevent a person from evading liability for negligently causing damage. 

Required Information Exchange in an Accident

Section 600 of the Vehicle and Traffic law requires drivers to stop and exchange information whenever a driver has caused damage, or has cause to know that the driver has caused damage. 

The information exchange includes his or her name, residence, including street and number, insurance carrier, and insurance identification information and license number to the party sustaining the damage, to the injured party if practical, and in case of injury, to a person, also to a police officer.  

The police officer has a duty to request the information and assist the drivers in making this information exchange. 

Court Interpretation of Leaving the Scene under VTL §600

Courts have found that a driver is still liable under VTL §600 where the driver leaves the scene but proceeds directly to a police station to report the accident. People v. Schauffert, 277 A.D. 1042 (2d Dept 1950) 

The report required under the statute may be made by telephone minutes after the accident. People v. Hampton, 22 Misc. 2d 432 (County Ct. 1960).

This statute applies to an accident in a private parking lot.  People v. Bell, 21 Misc. 2d 578 (County Ct. 1960).

 Related Requirement From DMV in the Event of Accident

The New York DMV requires that all persons in a reportable accident file a form MV-104. A reportable accident, is an accident that causes damage of more than $1,000 to any one individual, including the driver. And if there is any damage over $1,000 all drivers must file the MV-104. This form must be filed within 10 days of the accident. 

If the accident involved a parked car, the driver must locate the owner or contact the police.  

If you have already filed accident reports, you may access the PDF copies here: Accident Reports from NY DMV. 

Text of New York VTL §600

1. Property damage. a. Any person operating a motor vehicle who, knowing or having cause to know that damage has been caused to the real property or to the personal property, not including animals, of another, due to an incident involving the motor vehicle operated by such person shall, before leaving the place where the damage occurred, stop, exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for such vehicle, when such card is required pursuant to articles six and eight of this chapter, and give his or her name, residence, including street and number, insurance carrier and insurance identification information including but not limited to the number and effective dates of said individual's insurance policy, and license number to the party sustaining the damage, or in case the person sustaining the damage is not present at the place where the damage occurred then he or she shall report the same as soon as physically able to the nearest police station, or judicial officer. In addition to the foregoing, any such person shall also: (i) produce the proof of insurance coverage required pursuant to article forty-four-B of this chapter if such person is a TNC driver operating a TNC vehicle while the incident occurred who was (A) logged on to the TNC's digital network but not engaged in a TNC prearranged trip or (B) was engaged in a TNC prearranged trip; and (ii) disclose whether he or she, at the time such incident occurred, was (A) logged on to the TNC's digital network but not engaged in a TNC prearranged trip or (B) was engaged in a TNC prearranged trip.

  b. It shall be the duty of any member of a law enforcement agency who is at the scene of the accident to request the said operator or operators of the motor vehicles, when physically capable of doing so, to exchange the information required hereinabove and such member of a law enforcement agency shall assist such operator or operators in making such exchange of information in a reasonable and harmonious manner.

  A violation of the provisions of paragraph a of this subdivision shall constitute a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of up to two hundred fifty dollars or a sentence of imprisonment for up to fifteen days or both such fine and imprisonment.

  2. Personal injury. a. Any person operating a motor vehicle who, knowing or having cause to know that personal injury has been caused to another person, due to an incident involving the motor vehicle operated by such person shall, before leaving the place where the said personal injury occurred, stop, exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for such vehicle, when such card is required pursuant to articles six and eight of this chapter, and give his or her name, residence, including street and street number, insurance carrier and insurance identification information including but not limited to the number and effective dates of said individual's insurance policy and license number, to the injured party, if practical, and also to a police officer, or in the event that no police officer is in the vicinity of the place of said injury, then, he or she shall report said incident as soon as physically able to the nearest police station or judicial officer. In addition to the foregoing, any such person shall also: (i) produce the proof of insurance coverage required pursuant to article forty-four-B of this chapter if such person is a TNC driver operating a TNC vehicle at the time of the incident who was (A) logged on to the TNC's digital network but not engaged in a TNC prearranged trip or (B) was engaged in a TNC prearranged trip; and (ii) disclose whether he or she, at the time such incident occurred, was (A) logged on to the TNC's digital network but not engaged in a TNC prearranged trip or (B) was engaged in a TNC prearranged trip.

  b. It shall be the duty of any member of a law enforcement agency who is at the scene of the accident to request the said operator or operators of the motor vehicles, when physically capable of doing so, to exchange the information required hereinabove and such member of a law enforcement agency shall assist such operator or operators in making such exchange of information in a reasonable and harmonious manner.

  c. A violation of the provisions of paragraph a of this subdivision resulting solely from the failure of an operator to exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for the vehicle or exchange the information required in such paragraph shall constitute a class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty nor more than five hundred dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law. Any subsequent such violation shall constitute a class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law. Any violation of the provisions of paragraph a of this subdivision, other than for the mere failure of an operator to exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for such vehicle or exchange the information required in such paragraph, shall constitute a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law. Any such violation committed by a person after such person has previously been convicted of such a violation shall constitute a class E felony, punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law. Any violation of the provisions of paragraph a of this subdivision, other than for the mere failure of an operator to exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for such vehicle or exchange the information required in such paragraph, where the personal injury involved (i) results in serious physical injury, as defined in section 10.00 of the penal law, shall constitute a class E felony, punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than five thousand dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law, or (ii) results in death shall constitute a class D felony punishable by a fine of not less than two thousand nor more than five thousand dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law.

  3. For the purposes of this article, the terms "TNC", "TNC driver", "TNC vehicle", "TNC prearranged trip" and "digital network" shall have the same meanings as such terms are defined in article forty-four-B of this chapter.

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/VAT/600

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