Everton and Republic of Ireland footballer Darron Gibson is due before Trafford Magistrates’ Court on 1 September after the football star was charged in connection with an alleged hit and run crash with a cyclist.
This week’s headlines regarding the incident highlights the severity of failing to stop after an accident and the consequences of not doing so.
Accidents on our roads are unfortunately a regular occurrence and whilst they may not always be at fault, many drivers do fail in their duty to stop and report the incident.
A plethora of motor law offences can arise from the circumstances surrounding the cause of an accident – in Mr Gibson’s case there is an allegation that he may have been driving with excess alcohol.
Often it can be the shock and panic at the incident itself, the fear of the consequences, or the influence of alcohol or drugs as to why some motorists fail to stop, especially when considering how easily further offences can stem from the incident; careless driving and drink driving are two of the most common, and more recently the use of a mobile phone whilst driving.
However what is often overlooked, and with many not understood, is the severity of the punishment placed on those found guilty of failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident.
In the most severe circumstances both of these offences can carry a custodial sentence of up to six months, or the Magistrates can impose an unlimited fine, a discretionary driving ban or between 5-10 penalty points endorsed on the defendant’s license.
‘Failure to stop after an accident‘ occurs when an accident involving a vehicle has taken place and the driver of that vehicle fails to stop at the scene when they are required to do so and does not provide or leave their details. ‘Failure to report an accident’ happens when a driver does not report the accident to the police within 24 hours of the incident in circumstances when they should do so.
What’s important to remember is that motorists are under an obligation to stop only if they know, or should have known, the accident took place. This argument is often used as a defence. The driver must demonstrate to the Court that on the balance of probabilities they were oblivious to the accident.
When collisions occur as a consequence of our mistakes; whether that is through careless driving, excess alcohol or any other motoring offence, it is always advisable to stop and report the incident and avoid the unnecessary addition of further charges.
Time will tell what consequences await the football star.