Law:Division 10. Accidents And Accident Reports (California)

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Chapter 1. Accidents And Accident Reports

Ca Codes (veh:20000-20018) Vehicle Code Section 20000-20018



20000. The provisions of this division apply upon highways and elsewhere throughout the State, unless expressly provided otherwise.


20001. (a) The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004. (b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (2) If the accident described in subdivision (a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this paragraph. (3) In imposing the minimum fine required by this subdivision, the court shall take into consideration the defendant's ability to pay the fine and, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce the amount of that minimum fine to less than the amount otherwise required by this subdivision. (c) A person who flees the scene of the crime after committing a violation of Section 191.5 of, or paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 of the Penal Code, upon conviction of any of those sections, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed, shall be punished by an additional term of imprisonment of five years in the state prison. This additional term shall not be imposed unless the allegation is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted by the defendant or found to be true by the trier of fact. The court shall not strike a finding that brings a person within the provisions of this subdivision or an allegation made pursuant to this subdivision. (d) As used in this section, "permanent, serious injury" means the loss or permanent impairment of function of a bodily member or organ.

20002. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following: (1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver's license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver's license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties. (2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol. (b) Any person who parks a vehicle which, prior to the vehicle again being driven, becomes a runaway vehicle and is involved in an accident resulting in damage to any property, attended or unattended, shall comply with the requirements of this section relating to notification and reporting and shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalties of this section for failure to comply with the requirements. (c) Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.


20003. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall also give his or her name, current residence address, the names and current residence addresses of any occupant of the driver's vehicle injured in the accident, the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and the name and current residence address of the owner to the person struck or the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and shall give the information to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident. The driver also shall render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting, or making arrangements for transporting, any injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if that transportation is requested by any injured person. (b) Any driver or injured occupant of a driver's vehicle subject to the provisions of subdivision (a) shall also, upon being requested, exhibit his or her driver's license, if available, or, in the case of an injured occupant, any other available identification, to the person struck or to the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident.

20004. In the event of death of any person resulting from an accident, the driver of any vehicle involved after fulfilling the requirements of this division, and if there be no traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident to whom to give the information required by Section 20003, shall, without delay, report the accident to the nearest office of the Department of the California Highway Patrol or office of a duly authorized police authority and submit with the report the information required by Section 20003.


20006. If the driver does not have his driver's license in his possession, he shall exhibit other valid evidences of identification to the occupants of a vehicle with which he collided.


20008. (a) The driver of a vehicle, other than a common carrier vehicle, involved in any accident resulting in injuries to or death of any person shall within 24 hours after the accident make or cause to be made a written report of the accident to the Department of the California Highway Patrol or, if the accident occurred within a city, to either the Department of the California Highway Patrol or the police department of the city in which the accident occurred. If the agency which receives the report is not responsible for investigating the accident, it shall immediately forward the report to the law enforcement agency which is responsible for investigating the accident. On or before the fifth day of each month, every police department which received a report during the previous calendar month of an accident which it is responsible for investigating shall forward the report or a copy thereof to the main office of the Department of the California Highway Patrol at Sacramento. (b) The owner or driver of a common carrier vehicle involved in any such accident shall make a like report to the Department of California Highway Patrol on or before the 10th day of the month following the accident.


20009. The Department of the California Highway Patrol may require any driver, or the owner of a common carrier vehicle, involved in any accident of which a report must be made as provided in Section 20008 to file supplemental reports and may require witnesses of accidents to render reports to it whenever the original report is insufficient in the opinion of such department.


20010. Whenever the driver of a vehicle is physically incapable of making a required accident report, any occupant in the vehicle at the time of the accident shall make the report or cause it to be made.


20011. Every coroner shall on or before the tenth day of each month report in writing to the Department of the California Highway Patrol the death of any person during the preceding calendar month as the result of an accident involving a motor vehicle and the circumstances of the accident.

20012. All required accident reports, and supplemental reports, shall be without prejudice to the individual so reporting and shall be for the confidential use of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of the California Highway Patrol, except that the Department of the California Highway Patrol or the law enforcement agency to whom the accident was reported shall disclose the entire contents of the reports, including, but not limited to, the names and addresses of persons involved or injured in, or witnesses to, an accident, the registration numbers and descriptions of vehicles involved, the date, time and location of an accident, all diagrams, statements of the drivers involved or occupants injured in the accident and the statements of all witnesses, to any person who may have a proper interest therein, including, but not limited to, the driver or drivers involved, or the guardian or conservator thereof, the parent of a minor driver, the authorized representative of a driver, or to any named person injured therein, the owners of vehicles or property damaged thereby, persons who may incur civil liability, including liability based upon a breach of warranty arising out of the accident, and any attorney who declares under penalty of perjury that he or she represents any of the above persons. A request for a copy of an accident report shall be accompanied by payment of a fee, provided such fee shall not exceed the actual cost of providing the copy.


20013. No such accident report shall be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of an accident, except that the department shall furnish upon demand of any person who has, or claims to have, made such a report or upon demand of any court, a certificate showing that a specified accident report has or has not been made to the department solely to prove a compliance or failure to comply with the requirement that such a report be made to the department.

20014. All required accident reports and supplemental reports and all reports made to the Department of the California Highway Patrol by any peace officer, member of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, or other employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of the California Highway Patrol, shall be immediately available for the confidential use of any division in the department needing the same, for confidential use of the Department of Transportation, and, with respect to accidents occurring on highways other than state highways, for the confidential use of the local authority having jurisdiction over the highway.


20015. (a) No traffic or police officer shall include in any counter report of a property-damage accident, as defined in this section, any determination by the peace officer of fault of the reporting person, including, but not limited to, inattentiveness. This section does not apply to a determination which is the result of an examination of the physical evidence of the accident at the site of the accident by the traffic or police officer or the result of an express, knowing admission of the reporting person if the basis for the determination is also included in the report. (b) As used in this section, "counter report of a property-damage accident" means any report of an accident involving one or more vehicles which meets the following criteria: (1) The accident reported caused damage to property, but did not cause personal injury to or the death of any person. (2) The report is prepared at an office of the California Highway Patrol or local law enforcement agency. (3) The report is written or recorded by, or with the assistance of, a peace officer.


20016. Any peace officer, any member of an organized fire department or fire protection district, any employee of the Department of Transportation assigned to maintenance operations, or any member of the California Highway Patrol may transport or arrange for the transportation of any person injured in an accident upon any highway to a physician and surgeon or hospital, if the injured person does not object to such transportation. Any officer, member, or employee exercising ordinary care and precaution shall not be liable for any damages due to any further injury or for any medical, ambulance, or hospital bills incurred in behalf of the injured party.


20017. Any peace officer who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that a pesticide has been spilled or otherwise accidentally released, shall report the spill as required in Section 105215 of the Health and Safety Code.

20018. Every law enforcement agency having traffic law enforcement responsibility as specified in subdivision (a) of Section 830.1 and in subdivision (a) of Section 830.2 of the Penal Code may develop, adopt, and implement a written policy for its officers to provide assistance to disabled motorists on highways within its primary jurisdiction. A copy of the policy, if adopted, shall be available to the public upon request.


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