Fail to Remain
Fail to Remain at the Scene of Accident
Associated charges: Fail to Surrender Insurance Card | Permit Operation of Motor Vehicle without Insurance | Make False Statement
Fail to Remain under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, refers to the illegal act of leaving the scene of a vehicle accident without providing the necessary information or assistance.
Section 200 of the Act explicitly mandates that:
- Remain: any driver or cyclist involved in an accident must remain at the scene or immediately return.
- Give Identification: The involved parties are required to furnish their name, address, and vehicle registration information to others affected by the incident, including any individuals sustaining injury or property damage.
- Assistance: they must offer assistance to anyone injured in the accident. This duty to remain is fundamental to ensuring accountability and aid during vehicular accidents.
Non-compliance with these obligations can result in severe legal consequences, including fines, demerit points, and even jail.
Fail to Remain: Law
Duty of person in charge of vehicle in case of accident
200 (1) Where an accident occurs on a highway, every person in charge of a vehicle or street car that is directly or indirectly involved in the accident shall,
(a) remain at or immediately return to the scene of the accident;
(b) render all possible assistance; and
(c) upon request, give in writing to anyone sustaining loss or injury or to any police officer or to any witness his or her name, address, driver’s licence number and jurisdiction of issuance, motor vehicle liability insurance policy insurer and policy number, name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle and the vehicle permit number.
The law requires that persons involve in accidents, stop, return to the scene of the accident, render any assistance and upon request give their information to the other party.
Owner Liability in Fail to Remain Accidents
Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, a “person in charge of a vehicle” broadly refers to anyone who is in physical control of a vehicle.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the individual must be the owner or the driver at the moment of an incident. The definition can encompass anyone who is has control of the vehicle, whether that be directly at the time, or a parent who subsequently learns of the accident after the fact.
In the context of “fail to remain” accidents, this definition is particularly important. It implies that the responsibility to adhere to the rules of remaining at the scene, exchanging information, and reporting the accident if necessary, doesn’t exclusively fall on the driver in the traditional sense.
For instance, if someone else is in control of the vehicle at the time of the accident (like a driving instructor or a mechanic testing the vehicle), they would be considered the “person in charge” and hence, would be responsible for fulfilling the obligations under the “fail to remain” clause.
This broad definition ensures that the responsibility for actions taken by the vehicle is not limited just to the owner or the registered driver, but extends to whoever is controlling the vehicle at the time of an incident and even afterwards.
The emphasis is on the physical control and action of the vehicle, rather than the legal ownership or driving rights. This plays a crucial role in legal and insurance proceedings following a “fail to remain” incident, as it establishes who is held accountable under the law.
Fail to Remain: Penalties
The Ontario Highway Traffic Act enforces strict penalties for failing to remain at the scene of an accident, emphasizing the seriousness of this offense:
- Financial Penalty: Drivers convicted of fail to remain face a fine ranging from a minimum of $400 to a maximum of $2,000.
- Licence Suspension: The offender’s driving licence or permit may be suspended for up to two years.
- Imprisonment: Potential for imprisonment for up to six months.
- Demerit Points: This offense also carries a penalty of 6 demerit points.
- Additional Penalties for Novice Drivers: Novice drivers face even stricter consequences. In addition to the suspension for the ‘fail to remain’ offense, they will receive a second suspension for accumulating 6 demerit points, which exceeds the demerit point limit for novice drivers.
These measures highlight the Act’s commitment to maintaining road safety and ensuring accountability in the event of traffic incidents.
Being convicted of a ‘fail to remain’ under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act carries significant insurance implications:
- Increased Insurance Premiums: A ‘fail to remain’ conviction typically results in a substantial increase in insurance premiums, as insurers view it as a major, high-risk traffic violation, where the a claim is likely to be made against the insurance.
- Refusal to Honour Policy: Insurance companies may refuse to honour the policy on the grounds that the insured committed an illegal act of failing to remain at the scene of the accident, thereby violating the terms of the policy.
- Difficulty in Obtaining New Insurance: Following cancellation or non-renewal, most drivers will find they have been classified as a “high risk driver” securing new insurance coverage can be challenging and more costly, with limited options available.
- Licence Suspensions: Any potential license suspension associated with the offence further influence insurance rates and coverage eligibility.
- Greater Impact on Novice Drivers: Novice drivers face more severe insurance repercussions due to their limited experience and stricter license regulations, with a mandatory demerit point suspension for this offence.
These various factors emphasize the crucial need for drivers to adhere to the ‘fail to remain’ laws, not only to comply with traffic regulations but also to maintain manageable insurance costs and coverage.”