Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
2/26/2020

Article 11. Accident Reports.

§ 46.2-371. Driver to give immediate notice of certain accidents.

The driver of any vehicle involved in any accident resulting in injury to or death of any person, or some person acting for him, shall immediately give notice of the accident to a law-enforcement officer. A willful failure to make the report required in this section shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 46-397; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-399; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-372. Driver to report certain accidents in writing; certification of financial responsibility to Department; supplemental reports; reports by witnesses.

A. Any person involved in an accident (i) resulting in injury to or death of any person or property damage, or (ii) when there is reason to believe a motor vehicle involved in the accident was uninsured at the time of the accident, may make a written report of it to the Commissioner, on a form prescribed by the Department.

B. If any accident report filed pursuant to the provisions of this article is alleged to be false or inaccurate, the Commissioner shall withhold any action under this section or imposition of any penalty and shall investigate and determine the true circumstances of the accident, including a determination of the identity of the parties involved.

C. For the purposes of this article the definitions provided in subsection B of § 38.2-2206 shall apply.

D. The Commissioner shall require the owner of a motor vehicle involved in any accident of which report is made pursuant to this section to provide information relating to certification of insurance or bond if there was in effect at the time of the accident with respect to the motor vehicle involved:

1. A standard provisions automobile liability policy in form approved by the State Corporation Commission and issued by an insurance carrier authorized to do business in the Commonwealth or, if the motor vehicle was not registered in the Commonwealth or was a motor vehicle which was registered elsewhere than in the Commonwealth at the effective date of the policy, or at its most recent renewal, an automobile liability policy acceptable to that Commission as substantially the equivalent of a standard provisions automobile liability policy; in either event, every automobile liability policy is subject to the limits provided in § 46.2-472.

2. Any other form of liability insurance policy issued by an insurance carrier authorized to do business in the Commonwealth or by a bond; provided that every such policy or bond mentioned herein is subject to limits set out in § 46.2-472.

E. The Commissioner shall forward the certification of insurance or bond to the insurance company or surety company, whichever is applicable, for verification as to whether or not the policy or bond certified was applicable to any liability that may arise out of the accident as to the named insured. A copy of the certification of insurance or bond shall be retained by the Commissioner and shall be disclosed pursuant to § 46.2-380.

Code 1950, § 46-398; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-400; 1966, c. 130; 1972, c. 442; 1974, c. 453; 1975, c. 553; 1978, c. 205; 1979, c. 228; 1982, c. 221; 1986, c. 639; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-373. Report by law-enforcement officer investigating accident.

A. Every law-enforcement officer who in the course of duty investigates a motor vehicle accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of $1,500 or more, either at the time of and at the scene of the accident or thereafter and elsewhere, by interviewing participants or witnesses shall, within twenty-four hours after completing the investigation, forward a written report of the accident to the Department. The report shall include the name or names of the insurance carrier or of the insurance agent of the automobile liability policy on each vehicle involved in the accident.

B. Any report filed pursuant to subsection A of this section shall include information as to (i) the speed of each vehicle involved in the accident and (ii) the type of vehicles involved in all accidents between passenger vehicles and vehicles or combinations of vehicles used to transport property, and (iii) whether any trucks involved in such accidents were covered or uncovered.

C. The Department shall supply copies of accident reports received under this section to the Commissioner of Highways who shall exercise the authority granted to him under §§ 46.2-870 through 46.2-878 to reduce speed limits where accident frequency or severity or other factors may indicate the course of action to be warranted.

Code 1950, § 46-399; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-401; 1975, c. 553; 1986, c. 639; 1988, cc. 662, 897; 1989, c. 727; 1992, cc. 149, 413; 2009, c. 1.

§ 46.2-373.1. Report of law-enforcement officer involved in accident.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 46.2-208, any law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, who is named as a driver in a motor vehicle accident on a report submitted to the Department pursuant to § 46.2-373 shall not have the accident displayed on his driving record if he was driving a motor vehicle provided by a law-enforcement agency in the course of his employment and was operating the motor vehicle in the performance of his official duties at the time of such accident. The driving record of such law-enforcement officer involved in an accident in the course of his employment shall not contain any information of an accident submitted pursuant to § 46.2-373.

2017, cc. 800, 821.

§ 46.2-374. Department to prepare and supply forms for reports.

The Department shall prepare and, on request, supply to police departments, medical examiners or other officials exercising like functions, sheriffs, and other suitable agencies forms for accident reports and other reports required to be made to the Department, appropriate with respect to the persons required to make the reports and the purpose to be served. The forms for accident reports shall include suitable spaces for the name or names of the insurance carrier of the automobile liability policy of each vehicle involved in the accidents as required to be reported by § 46.2-373.

Code 1950, § 46-401; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-403; 1975, c. 553; 1986, c. 639; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-375. Reports by medical examiners of deaths resulting from accidents.

Every person holding the office of medical examiner shall report to the Commissioner: (i) the death of a person in his jurisdiction as a result of a motor vehicle accident, immediately after learning of the death; (ii) on or before the tenth day of each month, all deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents during the preceding calendar month. These reports shall be made in the form prescribed by the Commissioner.

Code 1950, §§ 46-402, 46-404; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-404; 1985, c. 10; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-376. Report required of person in charge of garage or repair shop.

The person in charge of any garage or repair shop to which is brought any motor vehicle (i) that shows evidence of having been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident or (ii) with evidence of bloodstains shall report to the nearest police station or to the State Police, within twenty-four hours after the motor vehicle is received, giving the engine number, registration number and the name and address of the owner or operator of the vehicle if known. Reports required by this section shall be made upon forms furnished by the Superintendent of State Police.

Code 1950, §§ 46-405, 46-406; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-406; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-377. Reports made by garages to be without prejudice and confidential; exceptions.

All accident reports made by garages pursuant to this article shall be without prejudice to the individual so reporting and shall be for the confidential use of the State Police, local law-enforcement agencies, or by agencies having use for the records for accident prevention purposes.

Code 1950, § 46-407; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-407; 1986, c. 639; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-378. Extent to which reports may be used as evidence.

No report submitted pursuant to this article shall be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of an accident, except that the Department shall furnish, on demand of any person who has or claims to have made such a report, or upon demand of any court, a certificate showing that a specified accident report has or has not been made to the Department, solely to prove compliance or noncompliance with the requirement that the report be made to the Department.

Code 1950, § 46-408; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-408; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-379. Use of crash reports made by investigating officers.

All crash reports made by investigating officers shall be for the confidential use of the Department and of other state agencies for accident prevention purposes and shall not be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of any accident. If otherwise authorized by law, the Department may disclose from the reports, on request of any person, the date, time, and location of the accident and the names and addresses of the drivers, the owners of the vehicles involved, the injured persons, the witnesses, and one investigating officer.

Code 1950, § 46-409; 1952, c. 544; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-409; 1986, c. 639; 1989, c. 727; 2014, cc. 77, 803.

§ 46.2-380. Reports made under certain sections open to inspection by certain persons; copies; maintenance of reports and photographs for three-year period.

A. Any report of an accident made pursuant to § 46.2-372, 46.2-373, 46.2-375, or 46.2-377 shall be maintained by the Department in either hard copy or electronic form for a period of at least 36 months from the date of the accident and shall be open to the inspection of (i) any person involved or injured in the accident or as a result thereof, or his attorney, (ii) any authorized representative of any insurance carrier reasonably anticipating exposure to civil liability as a consequence of the accident or to which the person has applied for issuance or renewal of a policy of automobile insurance, or (iii) the FMCSA or any authorized agent thereof. The Commissioner shall, on written request, furnish a copy of the report, in either hard copy or electronic form, at the expense of the requester. Any such report shall also be open to inspection by the personal representative of any person injured or killed in the accident, including his guardian, conservator, executor, committee, next of kin as defined in § 54.1-2800, or administrator, or, if the person injured or killed is under 18 years of age, his parent or guardian. The Commissioner shall only be required to furnish under this section copies of reports required by the provisions of this article to be made directly to the Commissioner. The Commissioner may set a reasonable fee for furnishing a copy of any report, provide to whom payment shall be made, and establish a procedure for payment.

B. The Commissioner or Superintendent of State Police having a copy of any photograph taken by a law-enforcement officer relating to a nonfatal accident shall maintain the negatives for or an electronic record of such photographs in their records for at least 36 months from the date of the accident.

Code 1950, § 46-410; 1956, c. 648; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-410; 1975, c. 21; 1976, c. 40; 1978, c. 829; 1986, c. 639; 1989, cc. 302, 727; 1997, c. 801; 1998, c. 522; 2013, cc. 80, 104; 2015, c. 171; 2019, c. 750.

§ 46.2-381. Accident reports required by county or municipal ordinance; copies.

Any county, city, or town may, by ordinance, require that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident file with a designated department a report of the accident. These reports shall be for the confidential use of the department and subject to the provisions of this article. The county, city, or town may, by ordinance, require the designated department to make the reports, including the report of the law-enforcement officer, and including any photographs taken by law-enforcement officers, available for inspection by any person involved or injured in the accident or his attorney or any authorized representative of any insurance carrier reasonably anticipating exposure to civil liability as a consequence of the accident. The county, city, or town may, by ordinance, prescribe fees to be charged for copies of the reports and photographs and require the designated department to furnish copies of the reports and photographs, after payment of the prescribed fees, to any such person, attorney, or authorized representative.

Code 1950, § 46-413; 1954, c. 393; 1956, c. 703; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-411; 1962, c. 458; 1986, c. 639; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-382. Courts to keep full records of certain cases.

Every general district court or circuit court or the clerk thereof shall keep a full record of every case in which:

1. A person is charged with (i) a violation of any law of the Commonwealth pertaining to the operator or operation of a motor vehicle or commercial motor vehicle; (ii) a violation of any ordinance of any county, city, or town pertaining to the operator or operation of any motor vehicles, except parking regulations; (iii) any theft of a motor vehicle or unauthorized use thereof or theft of any part attached to it; (iv) a violation of § 18.2-36.2, subsection B of § 29.1-738, or § 29.1-738.02, 29.1-738.2, or 29.1-738.4; or (v) a violation or offense involving the use of a motor vehicle or commercial motor vehicle by a person holding a commercial learner's permit or commercial driver's license in the commission of any felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance or possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense such controlled substance;

2. A person is charged with manslaughter or any other felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle was used; or

3. There is rendered a judgment for damages, the rendering and nonpayment of which under the terms of this title require the Commissioner to suspend the driver's license and registration in the name of the judgment debtor.

Code 1950, §§ 46-195, 46-414; 1952, c. 188; 1954, c. 168; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-412; 1966, c. 533; 1984, c. 780; 1989, c. 727; 1998, c. 147; 2005, c. 376; 2019, c. 750.

§ 46.2-382.1. Courts to make findings relating to commercial motor vehicles.

For the purpose of enforcing the Virginia Commercial Driver's License Act (§ 46.2-341.1 et seq.), in any case in which a person is charged with a violation of any law of the Commonwealth or of any ordinance of any county, city or town pertaining to the operator or operation of a motor vehicle, except parking violations, and the warrant or summons indicates that the motor vehicle so operated was a commercial motor vehicle as defined in the Virginia Commercial Driver's License Act, or that it was a commercial motor vehicle carrying hazardous materials as defined by the Virginia Commercial Driver's License Act, the court hearing such case shall make a finding, which shall be noted on the record, as to whether such vehicle was in fact a commercial motor vehicle and, if applicable, whether such vehicle was carrying hazardous materials.

If the offense charged is one in which operation of a commercial motor vehicle is an element of the offense, the conviction of the offense shall constitute the court's finding that the vehicle was a commercial motor vehicle, but a separate finding shall be made as to whether such vehicle was carrying hazardous materials, if applicable. If the offense charged is one in which operation of a commercial motor vehicle is not an element of the offense, then the court, after convicting the person charged, shall make a separate finding as to whether the vehicle was a commercial motor vehicle and, if applicable, whether it was carrying hazardous materials. The separate findings required by this section shall be noted on the conviction record, and the following procedures shall apply to such separate findings:

1. If the person charged prepays fines and costs pursuant to § 19.2-254.1, he shall be deemed to have admitted that such motor vehicle was a commercial motor vehicle and, if applicable, that it carried hazardous materials at the time of the violation, as indicated on the warrant or summons, and such admission or admissions shall be noted on the conviction record as the court's finding.

2. In all other cases, the Commonwealth shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the vehicle was a commercial motor vehicle and, if applicable, that it carried hazardous materials.

1989, c. 705, § 46.1-412.1.

§ 46.2-383. Courts to forward abstracts of records or furnish abstract data of conviction by electronic means in certain cases; records in office of Department; inspection; clerk's fee for reports.

A. In the event (i) a person is convicted of a charge described in subdivision 1 or 2 of § 46.2-382 or § 46.2-382.1 or (ii) a person fails or refuses to pay any fine, costs, forfeiture, restitution or penalty, or any installment thereof, imposed in any traffic case, or (iii) a person forfeits bail or collateral or other deposit to secure the defendant's appearance on the charges, unless the conviction has been set aside or the forfeiture vacated, or (iv) a court assigns a defendant to a driver education program or alcohol treatment or rehabilitation program, or both such programs, as authorized by § 18.2-271.1, or (v) compliance with the court's probation order is accepted by the court in lieu of a conviction under § 18.2-266 or the requirements specified in § 18.2-271 as provided in § 18.2-271.1, or (vi) there is rendered a judgment for damages against a person as described in § 46.2-382, every district court or clerk of a circuit court shall forward an abstract of the record to the Commissioner within 18 days after such conviction, failure or refusal to pay, forfeiture, assignment, or acceptance, and in the case of civil judgments, on the request of the judgment creditor or his attorney, within 30 days after judgment has become final. No abstract of the record in a district court shall be forwarded to the Commissioner unless the period allowed for an appeal has elapsed and no appeal has been perfected. On or after July 1, 2013, in the event that a conviction or adjudication has been nullified by separate order of the court, the clerk shall forward to the Commissioner an abstract of that record.

B. Abstract data of conviction may be furnished to the Commissioner by electronic means provided that the content of the abstract and the certification complies with the requirements of § 46.2-386. In cases where the abstract data is furnished by electronic means, the paper abstract shall not be required to be forwarded to the Commissioner. The Commissioner shall develop a method to ensure that all data is received accurately. The Commissioner, with the approval of the Governor, may destroy the record of any conviction, forfeiture, assignment, acceptance, or judgment, when three years has elapsed from the date thereof, except records of conviction or forfeiture on charges of reckless driving and speeding, which records may be destroyed when five years has elapsed from the date thereof, and further excepting those records that alone, or in connection with other records, will require suspension or revocation or disqualification of a license or registration under any applicable provisions of this title.

C. The records required to be kept may, in the discretion of the Commissioner, be kept by electronic media or by photographic processes and when so done the abstract of the record may be destroyed.

D. The Code section and description of an offense referenced in an abstract for any juvenile adjudication obtained from a district court or clerk of circuit court pursuant to subdivision A 9 of § 16.1-278.8, § 16.1-278.9, clause (iii) of subdivision 1 of § 46.2-382, or any other provision of law that does not involve an offense referenced in subsection A or an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle shall be available only to the person himself, his parent or guardian, law-enforcement officers, attorneys for the Commonwealth, and courts.

Code 1950, §§ 46-195, 46-414; 1952, c. 188; 1954, c. 168; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-413; 1960, c. 179; 1966, c. 376; 1968, c. 335; 1972, c. 406; 1976, cc. 28, 336, 505; 1978, c. 134; 1979, c. 594; 1988, cc. 770, 852; 1989, cc. 705, 727; 2002, c. 258; 2013, c. 263; 2015, c. 478.

§ 46.2-384. Law-enforcement officers arresting drivers for certain offenses to request abstracts or transcripts of drivers' conviction records.

Every law-enforcement officer who has arrested any person for (i) driving while under the influence of intoxicants or drugs in violation of § 18.2-51.4 or § 18.2-266 or a parallel local ordinance, or § 46.2-341.24, (ii) reckless driving in violation of §§ 46.2-852 through 46.2-865 or a parallel local ordinance, (iii) failure to stop at the scene of an accident in violation of §§ 46.2-894 through 46.2-899 or a parallel local ordinance or (iv) driving without a license or while his license has been suspended or revoked in violation of § 18.2-51.4 or § 18.2-272, or §§ 46.2-300 through 46.2-302 or a parallel local ordinance or while he is disqualified in violation of § 46.2-341.21 of the Commercial Vehicle Driver's License Act (§ 46.2-341.1 et seq.), shall request from the Department an abstract or transcript of the person's driver's conviction record on file at the Department. The Department shall furnish the abstract or transcript to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the jurisdiction in which the case will be heard, to be held available for the court in which the person is to be tried for the violation or charge. However, the failure of the attorney for the Commonwealth to receive the abstract or transcript in any case shall not constitute grounds for the granting of a continuance of such case. In any such prosecution wherein a necessary element of the offense charged is that the defendant was previously convicted of the same or similar offense, a copy, certified as provided in § 46.2-215, of (1) the abstract of the relevant prior conviction, certified as provided in § 46.2-386, or (2) that portion of the transcript relating to the relevant prior conviction, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein with respect to the prior offense.

1968, c. 335, § 46.1-413.1; 1976, c. 148; 1984, c. 780; 1988, c. 413; 1989, cc. 705, 727; 1992, c. 838; 1997, c. 691.

§ 46.2-385. Prosecuting attorneys to appear in certain cases.

If requested by the judge trying the case, attorneys for the Commonwealth and all city and town attorneys whose general duties include the prosecution of offenses which are reportable by the courts to the Department under § 46.2-383, shall appear on behalf of the Commonwealth or the locality in any contested criminal case wherein a resulting conviction is required to be reported to the Department under § 46.2-383.

The failure of the attorney to appear shall, in no case, affect the validity of any conviction.

1968, c. 640, § 46.1-413.2; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-386. Forms for and information to be contained in abstracts; certification.

Abstracts required by § 46.2-383 shall be made on forms prepared by or approved by the Department and the Department of State Police. They shall include all information as to the parties to the case. In the event the abstract relates to a person convicted or found not innocent of a charge described in subdivision 1 or 2 of § 46.2-382, it shall include the nature and date of the offense, the date of conviction or finding of not innocent, the plea, the judgment, the penalty or forfeiture as the case may be, and the driver's license number if any, the month, day and year of birth, the sex and the residence address or whereabouts of the defendant and shall indicate whether the defendant appeared and was represented by or waived counsel. Every such abstract shall be certified by the general district court or juvenile and domestic relations district court judge or clerk of the general district court or juvenile and domestic relations district court or clerk of a circuit court as a true abstract of the records of the court as it relates to the charge, judgment and penalty.

Abstracts transmitted to the Department by electronic means may be certified by machine imprint of the name of the general district court or juvenile and domestic relations district court judge or the clerk's name of the general district court or juvenile and domestic relations district court or the name of the clerk of the circuit court that furnished the record as a true abstract of the records of the court as it relates to the charge, judgment, and penalty.

Code 1950, § 46-196; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-414; 1968, c. 151; 1984, c. 780; 1986, c. 607; 1989, c. 727; 1992, c. 838.

§ 46.2-387. Penalty for failure to forward record of conviction or of judgment for damages.

Any person required to forward to the Commissioner a record of a conviction or of a judgment for damages as provided in this chapter who fails, refuses, or neglects so to do without reasonable cause shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor and may be suspended or removed from office or otherwise disciplined for dereliction of duty.

The Commissioner shall call every such failure to the attention of the person guilty of the dereliction and to the judge of the court of which he is an officer in cases of dereliction on the part of officers of courts and also to the appropriate attorney for the Commonwealth.

Discipline for dereliction of the duties provided by this chapter is cumulative to the other penalties prescribed and may be imposed by the court having jurisdiction over the official whose negligence is complained of.

Code 1950, § 46-415; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-416; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-388. Uniform summons to be used for reportable motor vehicle law violations; citations.

A. The Attorney General, after consultation with the Committee on District Courts, the Superintendent of State Police and the Commissioner, shall approve a form for the summons to be issued in either an electronic or paper format and all revisions to the form to be used by all law-enforcement officers throughout the Commonwealth in cases of motor vehicle law violations reportable to the Department under the provisions of §§ 46.2-382 and 46.2-383 and for other offenses charged on a summons pursuant to § 19.2-74. The commencement and termination date for the use of the form and each revised version of the form shall be made by the Attorney General after consultation with the Committee on District Courts, the Superintendent of State Police and the Commissioner. The law-enforcement agency issuing the summons shall determine whether to use an electronic or paper format.

The form of the summons shall include multiple copies with the original to be used for court records and other copies in sufficient number to permit the use of one copy by the courts for purposes of filing abstracts of records with the Department as required by § 46.2-383 and shall be a form prepared by the Department within the meaning of § 46.2-386. The form of the summons shall also include appropriate space for use in cases of violation of either state laws or local ordinances.

B. A separate citation which has been approved in the manner prescribed in subsection A shall be used for violations of §§ 46.2-1122 through 46.2-1127 and 46.2-1130. The citation shall be directed to the owner, operator or other person responsible for the overweight violation, and shall advise him of:

1. The nature of the violation charged against him;

2. The amount of monetary fees, penalties, and damages that may be assessed for violations;

3. The requirement that he either pay the fees, penalties, and damages in full or deliver a notice of his intent to contest the charge to the Department;

4. The procedures and time limits for making the payments or contesting such charge, which shall include the trial date, which shall in no event be earlier than 60 days after the violation; and

5. The consequences of a failure to timely pay or contest the charge.

C. A separate citation that has been approved in the manner prescribed in subsection A shall be used for violations of § 46.2-613.1. The citation shall be directed to the owner, operator, or other person responsible for the violation and shall advise him of:

1. The nature of the violation charged against him;

2. The amount of monetary fees and penalties that may be assessed for violations;

3. The requirement that he either pay the fee and penalties in full or deliver a notice of his intent to contest the charge to the Department;

4. The procedures and time limits for making the payments or contesting such charge which shall include the trial date, which shall in no event be earlier than 60 days after the violation; and

5. The consequences of a failure to timely pay or contest the charge.

1968, c. 712, § 46.1-416.1; 1977, cc. 81, 585; 1984, c. 24; 1986, c. 588; 1989, c. 727; 2005, c. 589; 2011, cc. 62, 73.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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