Report online or call us on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Report a Road Traffic Collision

Your responsibilities.

I have been involved in a road collision. Do I have to report it?

This will depend on whether injury has been caused to any person and/or whether you have provided the required details at the scene of the incident. The Road Traffic Act 1988 (section 170) explains this fully.

If your (motorised) vehicle is involved in an accident you need to take the following steps to ensure you do not break the law.

Your duties are to stop, to give information, in some cases to produce your insurance certificate and in some cases to report the accident to the police.

If, as a driver, you are involved in a road traffic collision/accident and one or more of the following occurs:

  • a person, other than yourself, is injured
  • damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else’s property
  • an animal has been killed or injured, except in your own vehicle or trailer (an ‘animal’ is defined as ‘any horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog’. Collisions with any other animals do not need to be recorded).

You must

  • stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period
  • give your vehicle registration number, your name and address, and that of the vehicle owner (if different), to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details
  • for compliance with The Road Traffic Act 1988 (section 170), the exchange of name and telephone number is not sufficient
  • If you do not exchange those details at the scene, you must report the accident at a police station or to a police constable as soon as you can, and in any case within 24 hours.

In the case of injuries

Where injury is caused to another person, then in addition to the above you must also:

  • Produce your certificate of insurance to anyone at the scene who has reasonable grounds to see it. If you do not, you must report the accident at a police station or to a constable as soon as is practicable and in any case within 24 hours. You’ll need to produce your certificate of insurance.

If you did not comply with the requirement to stop and give details, and produce your insurance (if injury caused), it is a legal requirement that you report the collision/accident in person at a police station as soon as is possible and in any case within 24 hours.

Reports of a collision/accident cannot be made by phone, post or email – they must be made in person and within 24 hours.

If the incident happened in a public place e.g. a car park, or if there are no lines of enquiry e.g. no vehicle registration number of the offending party, the incident can be recorded by the Control Room via 101 non-emergency telephone number. The matter will not be investigated but they will provide you with a reference number for your records.

If an officer attended the incident they would probably have provided you with their collar/warrant number and name.

If the matter was reported at a police station, it may be several days before the Collisions Unit are able to process your case and make a decision as to how the matter will proceed.

You may be sent paperwork which will require you to provide driver details at the time of the collision or a witness statement for you to provide a written account of the collision in your own words. If you receive this paperwork, please complete it and return it as soon as possible so your investigation can progress with your written evidence.

If you provide details of potential witnesses, we will also contact them to provide a witness account.

If you have taken any photographs and/or have dashcam /CCTV footage of the collision, please attach a copy of this evidence to your witness statement and retain the original copies as you may be required to produce the originals for any civil claim.

For dashcam footage, please note that we cannot accept this via email so it must be provided on a USB, SD card or DVD.

The Collision Unit or the investigating officer will initially make contact with you and provide their contact details and the collision reference number.

The Collision Unit or the investigating officer can provide updates on enquiries in hand. However, realistically, this may take some weeks dependent on the nature of the collision.

Please contact the Collisions Unit, in the first instance if you have an enquiry on collisions.unit@sussex.pnn.police.uk

If you require third party details, please contact the Collision Unit by emailing collisions.unit@sussex.pnn.police.uk

If you are an insurance company or solicitor, please apply in writing, accompanied by a cheque payable to Sussex PCC for the relevant fee to:

Sussex Police Collisions Unit, Police Station, Ham Road, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. BN43 6DB

If you require a copy of the police report, please contact the Collision Unit in writing, accompanied by a cheque payable to Sussex PCC for the relevant fee to:

Sussex Police Collisions Unit, Police Station, Ham Road, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. BN43 6DB

A report will only be made available once the police investigation is considered complete.

Once the investigation is complete, the investigating officer will inform you if any persons have been charged in respect of the incident.

The investigating officer will review all evidence gathered and finalise the matter accordingly. Whilst your views are taken into account, the ultimate decision on disposal of any matter rests with Sussex Police.

Contact your insurance company who should make the necessary enquiries in the first instance. Once the enquiries have been completed and they are satisfied that the person does not have insurance, they should advise you to report the matter to the police who may be able to trace the other person.

It would be helpful if you could supply the registration number, make and model of the vehicle and the name and address of the other person if you were given it at the scene. If the person is traced they will be prosecuted for any relevant road traffic offence(s).

You can also take out civil proceeding against the other driver in order to try and reclaim the cost of any damage to your car. If you have legal protection as part of your cover your insurance company will be able to advise you on this matter.

If you have suffered any form of personal injury, loss or damage to your property, as a result of the accident and the other person cannot be traced or is uninsured, you may be able to obtain compensation through the Motor Insurers Bureau:

Motor Insurers Bureau
Linford Wood House
6-12 Capital Drive
Linford Wood
Milton Keynes
MK14 6XT

Telephone: 01908 830001

Contact your insurance company who should make the necessary enquiries in the first instance.

Once the enquiries have been completed and they are satisfied that the person does not have insurance, they should advise you to report the matter at a police station. The police may then investigate the possible offence of no insurance and, if appropriate, bring a prosecution.

However Sussex Police cannot assist in seeking compensation from an uninsured driver.

The police report is made for police purposes during the investigation of a collision, primarily to consider whether any offences are disclosed which should proceed to court. It does not seek to apportion civil liability or fully determine the culpability of any party.

Copies of any police reports are therefore provided to interested parties merely to assist in the conducting of civil claims for damages. Ultimately it would be for a civil court to determine the probability of any claim.

The police report remains precisely that: a report for police purposes which addresses the probable circumstances of a collision and whether offences may have been committed and if so whether a prosecution is likely to succeed.

Sussex Police incurs costs in attending and dealing with collisions, recording the circumstances of an incident and managing associated administration, including the costs of IT systems, stationery, postage and staff costs.