‘Hit-and-run’ law clarifies duties of drivers

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If you are involved in a traffic crash, especially a serious one with injuries or fatalities, the event is traumatic and sometimes tragic. It may be difficult at such times to remember the legal duties of a driver or vehicle owner involved in a crash – requirements intended for the safety of people involved in the crash, as well as other motorists and pedestrians.
A new Oregon law taking effect Jan. 1, 2019, will expand and clarify the duties of drivers in potential “hit-and-run” situations. Under House Bill 4055, signed in March by the governor, Oregon will now require drivers to:

* Stop and investigate if you think you have hit something. 
* Take action if you didn’t realize at the time that it happened but later learn you may have hit something or someone. That includes calling 911 if you may have been in a crash resulting in an injury or fatality.

Failure to perform the duties of a driver involved in a motor vehicle crash can result in felony charges.
These additions expand on current law, which requires a person involved in a crash involving injury or death to stop, provide aid to the injured, and remain at the scene to exchange information with the person or police. If a crash involves a domestic animal, the law requires the driver to stop, contact the owner, and provide attention to the animal. If a crash involves only property damage, the driver must stop and exchange information with the owner.

Any motor vehicle crash that results in death or injury, or substantial property damage, must be reported to DMV within 72 hours. You must report a crash to DMV if any one of the following apply:

* Damage to any vehicle or anyone’s property is over $2,500 (even if your vehicle was the only one in the crash).
* Any vehicle is towed from the scene.
* Injury or death resulted from this crash.

For more information about crash reporting requirements or to download a crash report form, visit www.OregonDMV.com.

Press Release by ODOT 3/27/18

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