Hit and run (vehicular)
Hit-and-run is the act of causing (or contributing to) a traffic accident (such as colliding
A collision is an isolated event which two or more moving bodies exert forces on each other for a relatively short time.Although the most common colloquial use of the word "collision" refers to accidents in which two or more objects collide, the scientific use of the word "collision" implies...

 with a person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

 or a fixture), and failing to stop and identify oneself afterwards. It is considered a crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

 in most jurisdictions.

Additional obligation

In many jurisdictions there may be an additional obligation to exchange information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

 about one's financial responsibility (including any applicable insurance
In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the...

) or to summon emergency services if they are needed. There may also be requirement to leave a note containing pertinent information if the property owner is not present.


Hit-and-run laws arose from the difficulties that early car accident
Car accident
A traffic collision, also known as a traffic accident, motor vehicle collision, motor vehicle accident, car accident, automobile accident, Road Traffic Collision or car crash, occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, road debris, or other stationary obstruction,...

 victims faced in identifying perpetrators so that they could be brought to justice. Apart from the obvious ability of an automobile to flee the scene quickly (if still driveable), drivers often wore driving goggles
Goggles or safety glasses are forms of protective eyewear that usually enclose or protect the area surrounding the eye in order to prevent particulates, water or chemicals from striking the eyes. They are used in chemistry laboratories and in woodworking. They are often used in snow sports as well,...

, vehicles at the time did not have license plates, and roads were unpaved and thus quite dusty.

Legal consequences

Hit-and-run has severe legal consequences including the suspension or cancellation of one's driver's license
Driver's license
A driver's license/licence , or driving licence is an official document which states that a person may operate a motorized vehicle, such as a motorcycle, car, truck or a bus, on a public roadway. Most U.S...

 (lifetime revocation of a driver license is possible in certain jurisdictions). It is frequently considered a criminal offense which can be punished by imprisonment
Imprisonment is a legal term.The book Termes de la Ley contains the following definition:This passage was approved by Atkin and Duke LJJ in Meering v Grahame White Aviation Co....

. Insurance companies often void the policies of drivers involved in this offense.

Attempts to understand the mental state of the hit and run driver began soon after the offense became codified and more recently has been explored in an article titled "The Psychology of Hit and Run" (2008).


Article 142 of the Strafgesetzbuch (penal code) hit-and-run ("illicit leaving of the scene of an accident") is punished with prison up to three years or a fine. Persons who have caused a traffic accident, or have contributed to it, have the duty to identify themselves to the victims or to other contributors. If the victim is not present (e.g. damage of a parking car) the one who caused the accident has to wait a certain time. If the victim doesn't appear, he has to report the accident at the next police station without delay.

Different in that it applies to not only the perpetrator of an accident, article 323c states that anyone who fails to provide necessary help in an emergency can be punished with prison up to one year or a fine. This applies only if providing help is a "reasonable burden"--when it can take place "especially without putting yourself in substantial danger or neglecting other important duties". Not being explicitly asked to help is not an acceptable reason not to do so. In a traffic accident for example, the actions expected would be securing the site against follow-up accidents, calling emergency services, and providing first aid to your ability until professional help arrives.


Article 101 of the Road Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China
Road Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China
The Road Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China is a law which was passed by the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China on October 28, 2003, promulgated by Decree No...

 provides hit and run with a major accident results in revocation of a driving licence, and a lifetime ban from obtaining one again.

The Penal Code provides that hit and run after an incident resulting in death, grievous bodily harm or major property damage is punishable with 3 to 7 years' prison, and 7 to 15 years if the act of hit and run results in death.

Administrative penalties

Article 62 of the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road traffic Regulations proclaimed on 28 December 2005 and effective on 1 July 2006 provides the following administrative penalties:

Section 1: Without personal injury and death, hit-and-run drivers of motor vehicles are subject to administrative fines of 1000 to 3000 new Taiwan dollar
New Taiwan dollar
The New Taiwan dollar , or simply Taiwan dollar, is the official currency of the Taiwan Area of the Republic of China since 1949, when it replaced the Old Taiwan dollar...

s and suspension of their driver licenses for 1 to 3 months.

Section: 4: With minor personal injury, hit-and-run drivers of motor vehicles are subject to revocation of their driver licenses, for 1 year pursuant to Section 3 of Article 67. With serious personal injury or death, hit-and-run drivers of motor vehicles are subject to revocation of their driver licenses, for lifetime pursuant to Section 1 of Article 67, but Article 67-1 allows a possible waiver after serving the revocation for 12 years if the revocation involved personal death, or 10 years if involving serious personal injury.

Criminal penalty

With personal injury or death, hit-and-run drivers of motor vehicles are also subject to imprisonment of 6 months to 5 years pursuant to Article 185-4 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of China.
Hit and Run, although illegal, is seldom prosecuted on Taiwan.
Drunk driving has a much more severe penalty so drunk drivers involved in accidents rarely stop to be tested.

Case law

On 13 September 1991 in the Taiwan Area, the Judicial Yuan
Judicial Yuan
The Judicial Yuan is one of five branches of the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan and serves as the highest judicial organ in Republic of China. Its Justices of the Constitutional Court , with 15 members, is charged with interpreting the Constitution...

 of the Republic of China in its Interpretation 284 considered that revoking a driver license for vehicular hit and run involving personal injury or death would not violate the Constitution of the Republic of China
Constitution of the Republic of China
The Constitution of the Republic of China is the fundamental law of the Republic of China . Drafted by the Kuomintang as part of its third stage of national development , it established a centralized Republic with five branches of government...


On 19 October 2001 in the Taiwan Area, the Judicial Yuan of the Republic of China in its Interpretation 531 further considered that lifetime revocation of a driver license for vehicular hit and run involving personal injury or death would not violate the Constitution of the Republic of China. However, this Interpretation also suggested relevant authorities in charge to reconsider the lifetime revocation and consider reinstatement for rehabilitated drivers.

United States

The penalties (and the definition) of hit-and-run vary from state to state. For example, in Virginia, the crime is a felony if the accident causes death, injury, or damage to attended property in excess of a certain dollar amount; otherwise, it is a misdemeanor.

In Texas, the crime is a third degree felony if the accident involves a fatality or serious bodily injury. Accidents causing less serious injuries are punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for not more than five years or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000. Accidents causing $200 or more in total damages without injuries are punishable by a class B misdemeanor, and accidents causing less than $200 in total damages are a class C misdemeanor.


Hit and run is defined in Canada as Failure to stop at scene of accident under Section 252 of the Criminal Code of Canada
Criminal Code of Canada
The Criminal Code or Code criminel is a law that codifies most criminal offences and procedures in Canada. Its official long title is "An Act respecting the criminal law"...

 and subject to a penalty of 5 years in prison. For a person to be guilty of hit and run in Canada, the prosecution must prove that the accused was aware of the accident, the accused voluntarily failed to stop and render assistance and the intent for failing to stop was to evade civil or criminal liability. While the prosecution bears the traditional criminal burden of beyond a reasonable doubt
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is a 1956 film directed by Fritz Lang and written by Douglas Morrow. The film, considered film noir, was the last American film directed by Lang.-Plot:...

, the accused is presumed to have intended to evade civil or criminal liability if the prosecution can prove the other elements of the offence. This reverse onus
Reverse onus
A reverse onus clause is a provision within a statute that shifts the burden of proof on to the individual specified to disprove an element of the information. Typically, this provision concerns a shift in burden onto a defendant in either a criminal offence or tort claim...

 has been held to be a justified limit under section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If bodily harm or death is caused in the accident and the prosecution can prove that the accused was aware of the bodily harm or death, the maximum penalties are up to 14 years in prison or up to life imprisonment, respectively. If the accused is also convicted of other offences in relation to the accident (e.g. impaired driving or flight from police) then courts will often make the sentence for hit and run consecutive to the penalites for the other offences, the rationale being that hit and run is often committed with the intent of evading criminal or civil liability.

External links

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