Each year, there are millions of car accidents across the nation. With Texas being so populous, we have our fair share of wrecks, including hit and run crashes. In Texas in particular, we have a problem with uninsured motorists, who sometimes have a tendency to flee the accident scene.
What some of these uninsured motorists don’t realize is that it’s a crime to flee the scene of an accident under Title 7, Chapter 550 of the Transportation Code. In other words, the consequences of being involved in a hit and run are worse than being caught driving without insurance.
Uninsured drivers are not the only ones who are involved in hit and run accidents – anyone can get into an accident, let their nerves get the best of them and flee the scene. Unfortunately, speeding away from an accident can lead to serious criminal charges.
Duties Following an Accident
All drivers are expected to take responsibility if they are involved in an accident, whether the accident involves a parked car, property damage only, bodily injury or death. Meaning, if a driver is in an accident, he or she is required to:
- Immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident.
- If their vehicle is not stopped at the accident scene, immediately return to the accident scene.
- At the accident scene, immediately determine if anyone was injured and if they need aid, and if so, ensure they get the medical care they need.
- Give their name, address, driver’s license number, registration number of the vehicle they were driving, and insurance information to the other parties of the accident.
It is a crime to flee the scene of an accident under sections 550.021, 550.022, 550.023, and 550.024 of the Texas Transportation Code. The penalties vary depending on whether it was just property damage, or if anyone else was injured or killed in the accident (even if the crash wasn’t the hit and run driver’s fault).
For example, under Sec. 550.021, Accident Involving Personal Injury or Death, if you’re in an accident involving minor injuries and you flee the scene, you could be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine or up to five years behind bars, or both.