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Drivers obligated to follow procedures after collisions
Jul 30, 2014 | 94 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Over the next two weeks, we will discuss the obligations of a driver who is involved in a collision. This week we will focus on striking an unattended vehicle as well as striking structures, fixtures, or highway landscaping. DPS has seen a rise in these collisions in parking lots such as at the movie theater and the high school.

In TRC 550.024, a driver has a duty if he/she strikes an unattended vehicle to stop immediately. The operator must attempt to locate the owner of the vehicle and provide the following information: the name and address of the operator and the owner (if it is a different person) of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle.

If the owner cannot be found, the one involved in the collision shall leave in a conspicuous place, or secure in a plainly visible way, a written notice giving the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle and a statement of the circumstances.

If the property damage of any one person exceeds, $1,000, and the incident is not investigated by law enforcement, the vehicle operator must file

A person commits an offense if he/she does not attempt to locate the owner and/or does not leave the notice. It is a Class C misdemeanor if the damage to all vehicles is less than $200. It is enhanced to a Class B misdemeanor if the damage to all vehicles is more than $200.

Remember that a Class B misdemeanor is a detainable offense.

TRC 550.025 is used if a vehicle strikes a structure, fixture, or highway landscaping. If a collision occurs in which only a structure adjacent to the roadway or a fixture or landscaping legally on/or adjacent to highway is damaged, the operator should take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property.

The operator should provide his/her name, address, and registration number (license plate number) of the vehicle involved.

If the owner or person in charge of the property asks, the operator should also provide his/her driver’s license number.

If the property damage of any one person exceeds $1,000, and it is not investigated by law enforcement, the vehicle operator must file a written report no later than the 10th day after the date of the collision.

If the vehicle operator does not follow the code of law as described above, he/she commits an offense.

If the damage to all fixtures and landscaping is less than $200, the driver will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.

If the damage is above $200, the charge will be a Class B misdemeanor.

In all circumstances, it is good practice to contact your local law enforcement on a non-emergency line to report the incident – especially if you were unable to locate the owner.

When the owner sees the damage to the vehicle, structure, fixture, or landscape and calls law enforcement, your information will already be on record and will show cooperation on your part.

Check back next week as we discuss when a driver is involved in a collision with another vehicle.

If you have a question about traffic laws, you can submit them to ruben.sanmiguel@dps.texas.gov, happytroells@yahoo.com or www.facebook.com/happytroells.
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