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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 individual. The driver of any motor vehicle
involved in an accident resulting in immediately demonstrable bodily injury to or death of any
individual 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 section as to the giving of information. The
stop must be made without unnecessarily obstructing traffic.
    Subd. 2. Driver to stop for accident to property. The driver of any motor vehicle involved
in an accident to a vehicle driven or attended by any individual shall immediately stop the motor
vehicle at the scene of the accident, or as close to the accident 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 section as to the giving of information. The stop must be made without
unnecessarily obstructing traffic.
    Subd. 3. Driver to give information. (a) The driver of any motor vehicle involved in an
accident resulting in bodily injury to or death of any individual, or damage to any vehicle driven
or attended by any individual, shall stop and give the driver's name, address, and date of birth
and the registration plate number of the vehicle being driven. The driver shall, upon request and
if available, exhibit the driver's license or permit to drive to the individual struck or the driver
or occupant of or individual attending any vehicle collided with. The driver also shall give the
information and upon request exhibit the license or permit to any peace officer at the scene of the
accident or who is investigating the accident. The driver shall render reasonable assistance to any
individual injured in the accident.
(b) If not given at the scene of the accident, the driver, within 72 hours after the accident,
shall give, on request to any individual involved in the accident or to a peace officer investigating
the accident, the name and address of the insurer providing vehicle liability insurance coverage,
and the local insurance agent for the insurer.
    Subd. 4. Collision with unattended vehicle. The driver of any motor vehicle that collides
with and damages any vehicle that 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 registered owner
of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle, shall report this same information to a peace 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 registered 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 the property of that fact,
of the driver's name and address, and of the registration plate number of the vehicle being
driven and shall, upon request and if available, exhibit the driver's license, and make report
of the accident in every case. The report must be made in the same manner as a report made
pursuant to subdivision 7.
    Subd. 5a. Driver deemed agent of owner. Whenever any motor vehicle shall be operated
within this state, by any person other than the owner, with the consent of the owner, express or
implied, the operator thereof shall in case of accident, be deemed the agent of the owner of
such motor vehicle in the operation thereof.
    Subd. 6. Notice of personal injury. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting
in bodily injury to or death of any individual shall, after compliance with this section and by the
quickest means of communication, give notice of the accident to the local police department if the
accident occurs within a municipality, 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. (a) The driver of a vehicle involved in an
accident resulting in bodily injury to or death of any individual 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 of the accident. On the required report, the driver
shall provide the commissioner with the name and policy number of the insurer providing vehicle
liability insurance coverage at the time of the accident.
(b) 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 information.
    Subd. 8. Officer to report accident to commissioner. A peace officer who, in the regular
course of duty, investigates an 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 as
prescribed by the commissioner of public safety.
    Subd. 9. Accident report format. The commissioner of public safety shall prescribe the
format for the accident reports required under this section. Upon request the commissioner shall
make available the format to police departments, coroners, sheriffs, garages, and other suitable
agencies or individuals. The electronic or written report to be completed by individuals involved
in accidents and by investigating peace officers must disclose the causes, existing conditions, and
the individuals and vehicles involved.
    Subd. 10.[Repealed, 2005 c 163 s 89]
    Subd. 11. Coroner to report death. Every coroner or other official performing like functions
shall report in writing to the commissioner of public safety the death of any individual within the
coroner's jurisdiction as the result of an accident involving a vehicle and the circumstances of the
accident. The report must be made within 15 days after the death.
In the case of drivers killed in vehicle accidents and of the death of pedestrians 16 years of
age or older, who die within four hours after an 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 must be included in each report submitted pursuant to the provisions
of this subdivision and shall be tabulated on a monthly basis by the commissioner of public
safety. This information may be used only for statistical purposes that do not reveal the identity
of the deceased.
    Subd. 12. Garage to report bullet damage. The individual in charge of any garage or repair
shop to which is brought any vehicle that 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 the vehicle is received, giving the engine number if any, registration plate
number, and the name and address of the registered owner or operator of the vehicle.
    Subd. 13. Reports confidential; evidence, fee, penalty, appropriation. (a) All reports and
supplemental information required under this section must 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 individual involved in an accident or upon written request of the representative
of the individual's estate, surviving spouse, or one or more surviving next of kin, or a trustee
appointed under 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 are not discoverable under any
provision of law or rule of court. No report shall be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal,
or any action for damages or criminal proceedings arising out of an accident. However, 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 individual who has made a report under
this section from providing information to any individuals 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 individual'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 shall charge authorized persons as described in
paragraph (a) a $5 fee for a copy of an accident report. Ninety percent of the $5 fee collected
under this paragraph must be deposited in the special revenue fund and credited to the driver
services operating account established in section 299A.705 and ten percent must be deposited
in the general fund. The commissioner may also furnish an electronic copy of the database of
accident records, which must not contain personal or private data on an individual, to private
agencies as provided in paragraph (g), for not less than the cost of preparing the copies on a bulk
basis as provided in section 13.03, subdivision 3.
(f) The fees specified in paragraph (e) notwithstanding, the commissioner and law
enforcement agencies shall charge commercial users who request access to response or incident
data relating to accidents a fee not to exceed 50 cents per record. "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. Of the money collected by the
commissioner under this paragraph, 90 percent must be deposited in the special revenue fund
and credited to the driver services operating account established in section 299A.705 and ten
percent must be deposited in the general fund.
(g) The fees in paragraphs (e) and (f) notwithstanding, the commissioner shall provide an
electronic copy of the accident records database to the public on a case-by-case basis using the
cost-recovery charges provided for under section 13.03, subdivision 3. The database provided
must not contain personal or private data on an individual. However, unless the accident records
data base includes the vehicle identification number, the commissioner shall include the vehicle
registration 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 registration plate number only for identifying vehicles that have been
involved in accidents or damaged, to provide this information to persons seeking access to a
vehicle's history and not for 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 individual, 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 individual, 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 individual, 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, 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. 14a. Suspension of license for failure to report accident. The commissioner may
suspend the license, or any nonresident's operating privilege, of any person who willfully fails,
refuses, or neglects to make report of a traffic accident as required by the laws of this state. A
license suspension under this section is subject to the notice requirements of section 171.18,
subdivision 2
.
    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 individual 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.
    Subd. 16. Commissioner as agent for service of process. The use and operation by a
resident of this state or the resident's agent, or by a nonresident or the nonresident's agent, of a
motor vehicle within the state of Minnesota, is deemed an irrevocable appointment by the resident
if absent from this state continuously for six months or more following an accident, or by the
nonresident at any time, of the commissioner of public safety to be the resident's or nonresident's
true and lawful attorney upon whom may be served all legal process in any action or proceeding
against the resident or nonresident or the executor, administrator, or personal representative of
the resident or nonresident growing out of the use and operation of a motor vehicle within this
state, resulting in damages or loss to person or property, whether the damage or loss occurs
on a highway or on abutting public or private property. This appointment is binding upon the
nonresident's executor, administrator, or personal representative. The use or operation of a motor
vehicle by the resident or nonresident is a signification of agreement that any process in any action
against the resident or nonresident or executor, administrator, or personal representative of the
resident or nonresident that is so served has the same legal force and validity as if served upon the
resident or nonresident personally or on the executor, administrator, or personal representative
of the resident or nonresident. Service of process must be made by serving a copy thereof upon
the commissioner or by filing a copy in the commissioner's office, together with payment of a
fee of $20, and is deemed sufficient service upon the absent resident or the nonresident or the
executor, administrator, or personal representative of the resident or nonresident; provided that
notice of service and a copy of the process are sent by mail by the plaintiff within ten days to the
defendant at the defendant's last known address and that the plaintiff's affidavit of compliance
with the provisions of this chapter is attached to the summons.
    Subd. 17. Information access by vehicle owners. If an accident report has been prepared by
a person involved in an accident and no report has been prepared by a law enforcement officer,
the owners of the vehicles involved in an accident shall have the same access to information
maintained by the Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services Division, about the
vehicles, their owners, and their drivers that would have been available to a law enforcement
officer reporting on the accident.
    Subd. 18. Continuance of court proceeding; costs. The court in which the action is pending
may order a continuance as may be necessary to afford the defendant reasonable opportunity to
defend the action, not exceeding 90 days from the date of filing of the action in that court. The fee
of $20 paid by the plaintiff to the commissioner at the time of service of the proceedings must
be taxed in the plaintiff's cost if the plaintiff prevails in the suit. The commissioner shall keep a
record of all processes so served, which must show the day and hour of service.
History: (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; 1945 c 285 s 4,34; 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; 1967 c
397 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 346 s 3; 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; 2005 c 163 s
60-75,88; 1Sp2005 c 6 art 2 s 35