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42-4-1606. Duty to report accidents.

Statute text

(1) The driver of a vehicle involved in a traffic accident resulting in injury to, serious bodily injury to, or death of any person or any property damage shall, after fulfilling the requirements of sections 42-4-1602 and 42-4-1603 (1), give immediate notice of the location of such accident and such other information as is specified in section 42-4-1603 (2) to the nearest office of the duly authorized police authority and, if so directed by the police authority, shall immediately return to and remain at the scene of the accident until said police have arrived at the scene and completed their investigation thereat.

(2) Repealed.

(3) The department may require any driver of a vehicle involved in an accident of which report must be made as provided in this section to file supplemental reports whenever the original report is insufficient in the opinion of the department and may require witnesses of accidents to render reports to the department.

(4) (a) (I) It is the duty of all law enforcement officers who receive notification of traffic accidents within their respective jurisdictions or who investigate such accidents either at the time of or at the scene of the accident or thereafter by interviewing participants or witnesses to submit reports of all such accidents to the department on the form provided, including insurance information received from any driver, within five days of the time they receive such information or complete their investigation. The law enforcement officer shall indicate in such report whether the inflatable restraint system in the vehicle, if any, inflated and deployed in the accident. For the purposes of this section, "inflatable restraint system" has the same meaning as set forth in 49 CFR sec. 507.208 S4.1.5.1 (b).

(II) Repealed.

(b) The law enforcement officer shall not be required to complete an investigation or file an accident report:

(I) In the case of a traffic accident involving a motor vehicle, if the law enforcement officer has a reasonable basis to believe that damage to the property of any one person does not exceed one thousand dollars and if the traffic accident does not involve injury to or death of any person; except that the officer shall complete an investigation and file a report if specifically requested to do so by one of the participants or if one of the participants cannot show proof of insurance; or

(II) In the case of a traffic accident not involving a motor vehicle, if the traffic accident does not involve serious bodily injury to or death of any person.

(5) The person in charge at any garage or repair shop to which is brought any motor vehicle which shows evidence of having been struck by any bullet shall report to the nearest office of the duly authorized police authority within twenty-four hours after such motor vehicle is received, giving the vehicle identification number, registration number, and, if known, the name and address of the owner and operator of such vehicle together with any other discernible information.

(6) Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense.


Source: L. 94: Entire title amended with relocations, p. 2401, 1, effective January 1, 1995. L. 96: (2) and (4) amended, p. 1208, 3, effective July 1. L. 97: (4)(a)(I) amended, p. 798, 6, effective August 6. L. 2004: (2) and (4)(a)(II) repealed, p. 463, 2, effective August 4.





Annotator's note. Since 42-4-1606 is similar to 42-4-1406 as it existed prior to the 1994 amending of title 42 as enacted by SB 94-1, relevant cases construing that provision have been included with the annotations to this section.

This section deals with reporting. City of Aurora v. Mitchell, 144 Colo. 526, 357 P.2d 923 (1960).

The conduct constituting a class 4 felony under 42-4-1401 (i.e., leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death) is distinguishable in type and degree from the conduct constituting a class 2 traffic offense under this section (i.e. failing to report an accident); therefore, there is no implication of equal protection. People v. Rickstrew, 775 P.2d 570 (Colo. 1989).

This section requires that, if the accident involves injury, death, or property damage in excess of $100, the motorist file a written report with the department of revenue, and that law enforcement officers shall conduct an accident investigation and file a written report. People v. Reyes, 42 Colo. App. 73, 589 P.2d 1385 (1979).

Operator's duties in one-car accident. This section, rather than 42-4-1402, defines the duties incumbent upon the operator of a vehicle involved in a one-car accident. Lumbardy v. People, 625 P.2d 1026 (Colo. 1981).

Driver must immediately report accident and must receive permission to leave. While this section initially grants authority to a driver to leave the scene of an accident, he must immediately report the accident to a proper authority and must receive specific permission from that authority before he is excused from any further presence at the scene of the accident. Gammon v. State Dept. of Rev., 32 Colo. App. 437, 513 P.2d 748 (1973).

But where no law enforcement officer is at automobile accident scene before driver is taken to hospital, the driver is free to wait and give notice of the accident to the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority, to be followed by a written report within 10 days. People v. Reyes, 42 Colo. App. 73, 589 P.2d 1385 (1979).

Officer who investigates accident is foreseeable plaintiff. If a driver causes an accident, it is foreseeable that public safety officers will respond to the scene, and the driver has a duty to exercise due care toward the officer consistent with the laws of negligence as applied in this state. Banyai v. Arruda, 799 P.2d 441 (Colo. App. 1990).

Violation of section included in term "leaving scene of accident". The general assembly intended that a violation of this section be included within the meaning of the term "leaving scene of accident" as used in section 42-2-123. Gammon v. State Dept. of Rev., 32 Colo. App. 437, 513 P.2d 748 (1973).

Applied in Stewart v. United States, 716 F.2d 755 (10th Cir. 1982).