Road Traffic Accidents in Australia
Information on what to do if you have a road traffic accident: who to call and how to report an accident to the insurance company after a car crash...
In Australia all cars must be covered by compulsory third party, or CTP, insurance. This provides cover if a driver is involved in an accident in which people are killed or injured.
In the Event of an AccidentBy law a driver involved in an accident where a person or property is damaged must stop immediately, moving vehicles away from the traffic if possible. Property can include gardens, fences, houses and other vehicles. The police should be contacted if anyone is injured in an accident or if there is any damage to property. Anyone involved in an accident must wait for the police to arrive.
- In an emergency, Tel: 000 or 112 from a cell phone for police, ambulance and fire services
- For non-emergencies the police can be contacted on the Police Assistance line, Tel: 131 444
At the scene of an accidentThe following information should be given within to anyone whose property has been damaged or who has been injured:
- Name and address of the driver of the car
- Name and address of the owner of the car being driven, if the driver is not the owner
- Car registration number and driver licence details
- Any other details necessary to identify the vehicles
- Insurance details
Guidelines on what to do after a car accident vary slightly between states. The authorities in some states and territories provide clear guidance for what should be done and how to report an accident:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
In the event of an accident, full insurance details should be collected from everybody involved so that when a claim is made as much detail as possible can be provided. T
he following information should be collected:
- Names and addresses of all drivers involved in the accident
- Insurance details of every driver involved
- Names and contact details of anybody who witnessed the accident
Making a ClaimFollowing an accident, the company providing car insurance should be contacted straight away. This should be done even if a claim is not made by the policy holder, as other people involved may make a claim against an individual at a later date. Many insurance companies refuse to honour a claim if the accident was not reported immediately.
Insurance claims are usually made by filling out a claim form. Many companies have telephone services and online facilities to do this. The more information that is recorded when the accident happens, the easier a claim is to make. To make a claim on another driver's insurance a letter of demand should be written to them using the details they provide.
Drink DrivingDriving while under the influence of alcohol is one of the biggest factors in road accidents in Australia. There are strict drink driving laws and the police can stop and breath test any driver at any time. The legal blood alcohol limit for driving is 0.05g per 100ml of blood in all states and territories. Drivers on probationary (P plate) or learner (L plate) licences must not exceed zero blood alcohol (0.00 BAC) The same restriction applies to drivers of taxis, buses, and heavy goods vehicles.
The penalty for being caught drink driving depends on a driver's blood alcohol level and whether they have offended before. Loss of a licence for a fixed period and fines are common punishments. Imprisonment and community orders are possible for serious offences.
Breakdown and RecoveryThere are a number of breakdown companies in Australia, each offering various levels of cover. Cars, and not drivers are covered by a policy, but policies also exist for international and national breakdown/accident cover. Telephones are available at regular intervals on motorways/freeways to call for roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown.
Some of the major breakdown companies in Australia are:
- Australian Automobile Association
- National Roads and Motorists Association
- Royal Automobile Club of Australia