Things can go wrong in a big way on the road within a fraction of a second. It is a good idea to continue reading regardless of whether you are the driver speeding off after a collision (a hit and run), the driver left at the scene or a pedestrian left at the scene.
What is it?
‘Hit and Run’ is where the driver of a vehicle is involved or contributes to a collision causing death/ injury/ damage to property and leaves the scene without providing his/ her personal details to the other party.
What does the National Road Traffic Act say?
According to the National Road Traffic Act, the parties to a collision MUST provide their name, address, name and address of owner of the vehicle and registration numbers.
Yes, it is a criminal offence to just drive off.
Simply driving off is a criminal offence and one could be charged with reckless or negligent driving. The other party needs to lay a charge at the Police Station immediately/ within 24 hours.
Other than damage to property, what about bodily injury?
Note that a claim for serious bodily injury/ loss of a breadwinner where the identity of the driver/ owner of the vehicle is unknown (which is mostly the case when it comes to hit and run) may be claimed from the Road Accident Fund within two years.
My heading is spinning, what do I do?
If you are involved in any collision, and the other driver DOES stop, try to get as much information as possible. For example, try to note down:
– Name, contact number and address of the other driver and owner;
– Registration number;
– The make and model of the vehicle;
– Time of the accident;
– Photos of the damage;
– Photos of the registration disk;
– Photos of the scene;
– Get the name and contact details of witnesses, ask if they would be willing to make a statement;
– Very important and helpful: draw a quick sketch of what happened and the relevant robots/ stop streets whilst the memory is still fresh. This will also assist your claim at your insurance company, remember to notify your insurance company as soon as possible to avoid the repudiation of your claim. Most insurance companies attach timelines to claiming.