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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 169

Section 169.09

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169.09 Accidents.

Subdivision 1. Driver to stop for accident with person. The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in immediately demonstrable bodily injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident, or as close to the scene as possible, but shall then return to and in every event, shall remain at, the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of this chapter as to the giving of information. The stop shall be made without unnecessarily obstructing traffic.

Subd. 2. Driver to stop for accident to property. The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident, or as close thereto as possible, but shall forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at, the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of this chapter as to the giving of information. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

Subd. 3. Driver to give information. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to or death of any person, or damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person, shall stop and give the driver's name, address, date of birth and the registration number of the vehicle being driven, and shall, upon request and if available, exhibit the driver's license or permit to drive to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with. The driver also shall give the information and upon request exhibit the license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the accident or who is investigating the accident. The driver shall render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident.

(b) If not given at the scene of the accident, the driver, within 72 hours thereafter, shall give upon request to any person involved in the accident or to a peace officer investigating the accident the name and address of the insurer providing automobile liability insurance coverage, and the local insurance agent for the insurer.

Subd. 4. Collision with unattended vehicle. The driver of any vehicle which collides with and damages any vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and either locate and notify the driver or owner of the vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle, shall report the same to a police officer, or shall leave in a conspicuous place in or secured to the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle doing the striking.

Subd. 5. Notify owner of damaged property. The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to fixtures legally upon or adjacent to a highway shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property of such fact and of the driver's name and address and of the registration number of the vehicle being driven and shall, upon request and if available, exhibit the driver's or chauffeur's license, and make report of such accident in every case. The report shall be made in the same manner as a report made pursuant to subdivision 7.

Subd. 6. Notify police of personal injury. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to or death of any person shall, after compliance with the provisions of this section, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of the accident to the local police department, if the accident occurs within a municipality, or to a State Patrol officer if the accident occurs on a trunk highway, or to the office of the sheriff of the county.

Subd. 7. Accident report to commissioner. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more, shall forward a written report of the accident to the commissioner of public safety within ten days thereof. On the required report, the driver shall provide the commissioner with the name and policy number of the insurer providing vehicle liability coverage at the time of the accident. On determining that the original report of any driver of a vehicle involved in an accident of which report must be made as provided in this section is insufficient, the commissioner of public safety may require the driver to file supplementary reports.

Subd. 8. Officer to report accident to commissioner. A law enforcement officer who, in the regular course of duty, investigates a motor vehicle accident that must be reported under this section shall, within ten days after the date of the accident, forward an electronic or written report of the accident to the commissioner of public safety.

Subd. 9. Accident report forms. The Department of Public Safety shall prepare electronic or written forms for accident reports required under this section. Upon request the department shall supply the forms to police departments, coroners, sheriffs, garages, and other suitable agencies or individuals. The forms must be appropriate with respect to the persons required to make the reports and the purposes to be served. The electronic or written report forms to be completed by persons involved in accidents and by investigating officers must call for sufficiently detailed information to disclose with reference to a traffic accident the causes, conditions then existing, and the persons and vehicles involved.

Subd. 10. Use of form required. A required accident report must be made on an appropriate form approved by the Department of Public Safety and contain all of the information required unless not available.

Subd. 11. Coroner to report death. Every coroner or other official performing like functions shall report in writing to the Department of Public Safety the death of any person within the coroner's jurisdiction as the result of an accident involving a motor vehicle and the circumstances of the accident. The report shall be made within 15 days after the death.

In the case of drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents and of the death of pedestrians 16 years of age or older, who die within four hours after accident, the coroner or other official performing like functions shall examine the body and shall make tests as are necessary to determine the presence and percentage concentration of alcohol, and drugs if feasible, in the blood of the victim. This information shall be included in each report submitted pursuant to the provisions of this subdivision and shall be tabulated on a monthly basis by the Department of Public Safety. This information may be used only for statistical purposes which do not reveal the identity of the deceased.

Subd. 12. Garage to report bullet damage. The person in charge of any garage or repair shop to which is brought any motor vehicle which shows evidence of having been struck by any bullet shall immediately report to the local police or sheriff and to the commissioner of public safety within 24 hours after such motor vehicle is received, giving the engine number, registration number and the name and address of the owner or operator of such vehicle.

Subd. 13. Reports confidential; evidence, fee, penalty, appropriation. (a) All written reports and supplemental reports required under this section shall be for the use of the commissioner of public safety and other appropriate state, federal, county, and municipal governmental agencies for accident analysis purposes, except:

(1) the commissioner of public safety or any law enforcement agency shall, upon written request of any person involved in an accident or upon written request of the representative of the person's estate, surviving spouse, or one or more surviving next of kin, or a trustee appointed pursuant to section 573.02, disclose to the requester, the requester's legal counsel, or a representative of the requester's insurer the report required under subdivision 8;

(2) the commissioner of public safety shall, upon written request, provide the driver filing a report under subdivision 7 with a copy of the report filed by the driver;

(3) the commissioner of public safety may verify with insurance companies vehicle insurance information to enforce sections 65B.48, 169.792, 169.793, 169.796, and 169.797;

(4) the commissioner of public safety shall provide the commissioner of transportation the information obtained for each traffic accident involving a commercial motor vehicle, for purposes of administering commercial vehicle safety regulations; and

(5) the commissioner of public safety may give to the United States Department of Transportation commercial vehicle accident information in connection with federal grant programs relating to safety.

(b) Accident reports and data contained in the reports shall not be discoverable under any provision of law or rule of court. No report shall be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of an accident, except that the commissioner of public safety shall furnish upon the demand of any person who has, or claims to have, made a report, or, upon demand of any court, a certificate showing that a specified accident report has or has not been made to the commissioner solely to prove compliance or failure to comply with the requirements that the report be made to the commissioner.

(c) Nothing in this subdivision prevents any person who has made a report pursuant to this section from providing information to any persons involved in an accident or their representatives or from testifying in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of an accident, as to facts within the person's knowledge. It is intended by this subdivision to render privileged the reports required, but it is not intended to prohibit proof of the facts to which the reports relate.

(d) Disclosing any information contained in any accident report, except as provided in this subdivision, section 13.82, subdivision 3 or 6, or other statutes, is a misdemeanor.

(e) The commissioner of public safety may charge authorized persons a $5 fee for a copy of an accident report. The commissioner may also furnish copies of the modified accident records database to private agencies as provided in paragraph (g), for not less than the cost of preparing the copies on a bulk basis.

(f) The commissioner and law enforcement agencies may charge commercial users who request access to response or incident data relating to accidents a fee not to exceed 50 cents per report. "Commercial user" is a user who in one location requests access to data in more than five accident reports per month, unless the user establishes that access is not for a commercial purpose. Money collected by the commissioner under this paragraph is appropriated to the commissioner.

(g) The commissioner may provide a modified copy of the accident records database that does not contain names, driver's license numbers, vehicle license plate numbers, addresses, or other identifying data to the public upon request. However, unless the accident records data base includes the motor vehicle identification number, the commissioner shall include the vehicle license plate number if a private agency certifies and agrees that the agency:

(1) is in the business of collecting accident and damage information on vehicles;

(2) will use the vehicle license plate number only for the purpose of identifying vehicles that have been involved in accidents or damaged in order to provide this information to persons seeking access to a vehicle's history and not for the purpose of identifying individuals or for any other purpose; and

(3) will be subject to the penalties and remedies under sections 13.08 and 13.09.

Subd. 14. Penalties. (a) The driver of any vehicle who violates subdivision 1 or 6 and who did not cause the accident is punishable as follows:

(1) if the accident results in the death of any person, the driver is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years, or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both;

(2) if the accident results in great bodily harm to any person, as defined in section 609.02, subdivision 8, the driver is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than two years, or to payment of a fine of not more than $4,000, or both; or

(3) if the accident results in substantial bodily harm to any person, as defined in section 609.02, subdivision 7a, the driver may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year, or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

(b) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident not resulting in substantial bodily harm or death who violates subdivision 1 or 6 may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year, or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

(c) Any person who violates subdivision 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, or 12 is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(d) The attorney in the jurisdiction in which the violation occurred who is responsible for prosecution of misdemeanor violations of this section shall also be responsible for prosecution of gross misdemeanor violations of this section.

Subd. 15. Defense. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under subdivisions 1, 2, and 6 that the driver left the scene of the accident to take any person suffering immediately demonstrable bodily injury in the accident to receive emergency medical care if the driver of the involved vehicle gives notice to a law enforcement agency as required by subdivision 6 as soon as reasonably feasible after the emergency medical care has been undertaken.

HIST: (2720-168, 2720-169, 2720-170, 2720-171, 2720-172, 2720-173) 1937 c 464 s 18-23; 1939 c 430 s 2,3; 1941 c 439; 1943 c 548 s 1; 1945 c 207 s 1; 1947 c 114 s 1; 1947 c 428 s 7-10; 1959 c 679 s 1; 1963 c 280 s 1; 1963 c 634 s 1; 1965 c 815 s 1; Ex1967 c 3 s 1; 1971 c 491 s 5-11; Ex1971 c 27 s 3-5; 1974 c 22 s 1-4; 1974 c 343 s 1; 1977 c 53 s 1; 1978 c 461 s 1,2; 1978 c 679 s 1; 1980 c 498 s 2,3; 1981 c 37 s 2; 1981 c 357 s 60; 1982 c 545 s 22; 1982 c 617 s 6; 1983 c 345 s 2-7; 1984 c 622 s 1-4; 1984 c 628 art 3 s 11; 1Sp1985 c 4 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 180 s 1; 1987 c 383 s 5; 1989 c 290 art 6 s 1; 1989 c 321 s 9; 1991 c 319 s 16; 1993 c 351 s 27,28; 1994 c 399 s 1; 1996 c 408 art 3 s 1; 1997 c 230 s 2; 1999 c 227 s 22; 2001 c 91 s 1; 1Sp2001 c 8 art 2 s 39-41