New York traffic law requires drivers in a car accident to stop and share insurance information with the other driver(s) before leaving the scene. Further, the drivers are also required to call the police and wait for the officer to file a report if one or more persons are injured in the accident.
There are two statutes in the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (“VTL”) that pertain to leaving the scene of an accident. VTL § 600(1)(a) is for accidents in which there is only property damage and no injuries.
The statute declares that a driver who is or may have been at fault in a property-damage-only accident must share license and insurance information with other driver(s) involved. It is not required for drivers to call the police or wait for police to arrive when no one is injured in an accident and the estimated cost of damage to any one vehicle is less than $1,000.
Under VTL § 600(2)(a), when an accident involves personal injury, driver(s) involved must call the police and file a report. They must also share personal identification and insurance information with all other parties involved in the accident – regardless of fault. Failing to do so is a violation of this statute.
Consequences for leaving the scene of an accident can include:
Fines – between $0 and $250 if there was only property damage, however if there are personal injuries the fine is between $250 and $5,000 depending on the severity of the injuries;
Points – drivers will receive 3 points if convicted of leaving the scene of an accident involving only property damage;
License Revocation – a driver can have their license revoked for one year for leaving the scene of an accident that includes personal injury. CDL drivers who leave the scene of an accident (regardless of whether there is personal injury) may have their license revoked for one year.
Jail – leaving the scene of an accident with property damage only can lead to a person spending up to 15 days in jail. Refusing to provide insurance information following an accident with personal injury can lead to a person facing up to three months in jail. Further, leaving the scene of an accident in NY with personal injuries is a crime with a penalty of up to 1 year in jail. Leaving the scene of an accident involving serious personal injury or death is a felony in NY with a potential sentence of up to 7 years.