Certainly no one in Bozeman wants to be involved in a car accident. Perhaps even more than the fear of injury or sustaining damage to their vehicles, people want to avoid accidents simply because they do not want to have to deal with the consequences that come with them. It may be this desire more than anything else that prompts people to leave the scene of an automobile collision before the authorities can arrive. Indeed, according to information shared by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, as many as 11 percent of accidents reported to the law enforcement involve at least one driver who flees the scene.
It may be well-known that one is expected to remain at the scene of any car accident that he or she is involved in (regardless of whether or not he or she caused it), but why? The law recognizes that people in an accident have a duty to render aid (if it is needed). In Section 61-7-105 of Montana's Annotated Code, it says that anyone that has been involved in a collision is required to stay and assist any person(s) who may have been injured. Such assistance includes transporting (or arranging for the transport of) anyone needing immediate medical attention to the nearest healthcare facility. In fact, the only scenario in which one is legally allowed to leave the scene before law enforcement officials arrive is to fulfill such an obligation.
Even if an accident causes no injuries, one at least has to remain to speak with officials. One must also remain around long enough to provide other parties involved in the accident with the following information:
- Vehicle registration number
- Drivers' license (if requested)
Under no circumstances can one delegate any of these responsibilities to another.