Are we required to carry insurance papers within the car at all times? I'm helping a friend ask this as she was involved in a collision and the other party didn't have the insurance papers with her.
Two Parts to This Question
This short question actually has a two part answer. The first deals with which documents a driver is required to carry and the second concerns the information that they are required to produce when they are involved in a collision on a highway.
Documents That You Must Carry
The drivers of all vehicles in BC must carry three documents with them and produce them on demand of the police. They are a driver's licence, the vehicle licence and the vehicle insurance document. As you will see, this can be especially important if you are not the vehicle's owner and are involved in a collision.
Information That You Must Provide
If another driver involved or a witness to the crash requests it, you must produce in writing the following particulars: your name and address, the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle, the licence number of the vehicle, and particulars of the motor vehicle liability insurance card or financial responsibility card for that vehicle or such of that information as is requested.
If you do not have these documents with you and the information is demanded, you may have difficulty supplying it. As you would expect, failing to supply the requested information is an offence.
Red Flags Post Collision
Reluctance or inability on the part of the other driver to supply this information should immediately raise a red flag. It could be an indication of an unlicensed or prohibited driver, improper vehicle license, expired insurance or a stolen vehicle. In order to protect yourself, it's time to start gathering information and recording it.
If the Other Driver is not Cooperative
If the other driver will not co-operate, don't press the issue to the point that they become a threat. Notify the police and use your cell phone to take pictures or write information down with a pen and paper. At the very least, record a description of the driver, their vehicle (including licence plate number) and any passengers that were inside.
No Such Thing as Too Much Information
You can never have too much information and this situation tells you that future difficulty is likely. Time invested in recording as much as possible now may pay you back many times over in the future. Consider carrying a checklist in your glovebox to help you cover all the bases.
Duty of Driver at Accident - Section 68 Motor Vehicle Act
Production of Licence and Liability Card - Section 33 Motor Vehicle Act
Carrying of Licence - Section 11 Motor Vehicle Act
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Here's an interesting news story from yesterday in Surrey. A woman hit a child on a skateboard causing injury. She helped him home, dropped him off and left.
The boy's mother suggests that when a child is involved like this, the Motor Vehicle Act should place a heavier duty on the driver to find and notify the child's parent or guardian.
It's a very good point.