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Potter County Sheriff's Office

Gettysburg, South Dakota

Explaining South Dakota Laws

Update: Snowmobile Accident Reporting Requirements ( bottom of page).

When do I have to report a traffic accident to Police?

The Laws:

32-34-7. Duty to give immediate notice of accident to peace officer - Violation as misdemeanor.

The driver of any motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in bodily injuries or death to any person or property damage to an apparent extent of one thousand dollars or more to any one person's property, or two thousand dollars per accident, shall immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of such accident to the nearest available peace officer who has jurisdiction. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Note: the law makes no exceptions for animal-vehicle collisions.

32-34-4. Duty to stop after accident with unattended vehicle or property - Leaving information - Report to police - Violation as misdemeanor.

The driver of any vehicle which collides with or is involved in an accident with any vehicle or other property which is unattended resulting in any damage to such other vehicle or property shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle or other property of his name, address and the name and address of the owner and the license number of the vehicle he is driving or shall attach securely in a conspicuous place in or on such vehicle or other property a written notice giving his name, address and the name and address of the owner and the license number of the vehicle he is driving and shall without unnecessary delay notify the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Explanation:

You must immediately report any accident to police where any damage may exceed the $1000 limit to any one person. You must report accidents in any amount without unnecessary delay if the property is unattended.

This can mean $1000 to your car and no damage to the other car, it can mean $900 damage to your car and $1100 to the rancher's dead cows, it could mean hitting three other cars at $700 each (remember the $2000 per accident), or hitting a parked car with only $50 damage.

What if the damage in an accident is obviously under $1000?

The Law:

32-34-6. Information furnished by driver involved in property damage accident - Failure as misdemeanor.

Any driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in damage to property shall stop his vehicle at the scene of the accident and immediately give his name and address, and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle. If the damage is to another motor vehicle and the owner of the damaged vehicle is not at the scene of the accident, the driver shall immediately leave such information on the other motor vehicle. If the damage is to property other than a motor vehicle, and the owner of the damaged property is not at the scene, the driver shall leave such information with the owner of the property or with a law enforcement agency as soon as possible. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Explanation:

You do not have to report to the Police, however, you must exchange information with the other driver or property owner. Unattended vehicle (parked car) accidents must be reported regardless of amount, per 32-34-4, above. Your insurance agent may still want a police report in order for you to receive a settlement. The best way to find out who the other party is? Report the accident to the police. The average driver has no idea of what constitutes $1000 damage. On newer vehicles, a fender alone can be over $500, doors are around $1000 each, and a rear quarter panel goes for about $1400. In fact, a headlight assembly alone is about $250.

See the Damage Estimate Chart we use

What if the driver is not able to report an accident?

The Law:

32-34-9. Duty of occupant of vehicle to give notice where driver is physically incapable - Violation as misdemeanor.

If the driver of a vehicle is physically incapable of giving an immediate notice of an accident and there was another occupant in the vehicle at the time of the accident capable of doing so, such occupant shall make or cause to be given the notice not given by the driver. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Explanation:

If you are a passenger in a car crash, and have minor injuries, with the driver being badly injured, you are legally required to notify police.

When, and to whom, do I have to report a snowmobile accident?

The Law:

32-20A-19. The operator of a snowmobile on public lands, frozen public waters, or private lands leased for public snowmobile use shall, in the case of a collision or an accident resulting in damage to a snowmobile or other property to an apparent extent of five hundred dollars or more or resulting in death or injury to a person, immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice ... to the nearest conservation officer or other law enforcement officer...a full description of the collision or accident upon forms... If the operator...is physically incapable of giving an immediate notice...and there was another occupant in the snowmobile at the time...capable of doing so, such occupant shall make or cause to be given the notice not given by the operator. Any operator or occupant who fails to file a notice as required by this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Explanation:

This reporting procedure has changed, in that the old law gave snowmobile operators 24 hours to report to conservation officers, and there was a self-reporting form for operators to fill out. The new law requires immediate notice, and that a law enforcement agency is to do the investigation using the standard motor vehicle accident report forms with a copy being sent to GF&P. Also notice that the damage requirement has stayed at $500 for snowmobiles, while other motor vehicles remain at $1000.

Information provided on this site is accurate as of the creation date of page and pertains to South Dakota Laws only.  Your home-state laws and procedures may differ.  Check with your own local police agencies for legislative changes to laws.

Site design by A.D.McClain 2006 - all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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