Due to New Hampshire legislation, drivers in the state may no longer have full access to motor vehicle accident reports even if they are involved in an accident.
New Hampshire's Driver Privacy Act significantly limits the information that police may disclose to drivers making it more difficult for those involved in and/or injured in car accidents to obtain necessary information.
Rather than releasing reports directly to those involved in accidents, in many cases police are sending motorists to the state Division of Motor Vehicles so that the names or other information about vehicle drivers is not being released except through the DMV. As a result, it is more difficult to obtain reports and often times photographs of the scene cannot be obtained at all.
In addition, if there are no injuries reported at the scene of the accident, police are instructing drivers to simply exchange information and are not providing the parties with a report at all.
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office could issue further guidance to police departments, and there is a legislative effort underway to allow local law enforcement to provide some limited information – which many departments have been doing. In the meantime, however, drivers should be aware that accident information may not be automatically available to them.
So what should you do if you are in an accident? Police officials recommend at minimum to exchange the following information, much of which is already required as part of the New Hampshire statue governing conduct after an accident (RSA 264:25)
- Driver names and addresses
- Driver's license numbers
- Registration numbers of the vehicles involved
- Names and addresses of each occupant.
- Take photos or videos of the scene
- Contact your insurance company
It is worth noting that in instances when someone is injured and transported to the hospital or there is significant property damage, an accident report is taken and sent to the DMV. Additionally, accident reports are made and sent them to the DMV if criminal charges are suspected, according to police officials.
If you are involved in a car or motorcycle accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. as soon as possible.