As the volume of vehicular traffic on any given roadway increases, so does the opportunity for traffic crashes. Driver inattention is one of the greatest causes of vehicular crashes. Be alert, don't text or talk on the cell phone or divert your attention from driving and drive defensively. These are some of the best ways to ensure your safety in any driving situation.
Frequently asked questions about Traffic Crashes
Q: When is an officer required to complete a crash report?
A: According to Virginia State Code 46.2-373
Any law enforcement officer who investigates a crash that results in injury, death of any person or property damage resulting in at least $1,500 he/she must complete a crash report (FR300) within 24 hours and submit it to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Q: Why does the officer's accident report depict something different than what I told him/her?
A: An officer investigating a crash has many things to consider before completing a FR300 to DMV. The officer has to consider driver and witness statements, physical evidence such as skid marks and damage to vehicles and property. Investigating officers examine the angles at which vehicles collide, skid marks, hills and curves in the roadway etc. All of these factors influence what the officer reports in the FR300.
Q: Does the investigating officer have to issue a summons at every crash scene?
A: NO. The investigating officer is only required to issue a summons if he can determine that a violation of Virginia State Code has occurred. There are instances where collisions cannot be prevented such as animals running across the road and health problems i.e. seizures or heart attacks.
Q: Will my insurance company pay my claim if I don't get a crash report?
A: Yes. If the investigating officer only completes an accident information exchange form, have your insurance representative contact the investigating officer. This will allow your insurance company to confirm that your claim is legitimate.
Q: Are officers trained in collision damage estimation?
A: NO. The average officer does not receive any training in collision damage estimation. When an officer investigates a crash he can only document a "good faith" estimate concerning property damage. Your insurance adjuster's estimation may differ from the investigating officer.
Q: Why was I charged with reckless driving?
A: Often times a driver is charged with reckless driving due to the totality of the circumstances. Example: Failure to use a signal light may be only one factor that resulted in the crash. The officer may have witness statements of excessive speed or evidence of cell phone use. Officers are encouraged to use the most specific code for the violation. Reckless driving generally is used as a charge when there are more general violations of law such as "failure to maintain control" or "driving too fast for road conditions."
Q: What do I do if the other driver doesn't have insurance?
A: The investigating officer will still complete an accident information exchange form. You will have to refer to your insurance policy to find out what it covers. If the other driver does not provide the officer with proof of insurance within 30 days, they are subject to being charged with a traffic offense.