Wisconsin Statutes Vehicles (Ch. 340 to 351) § 346.70. Duty to report accident; assistance following accident

(1) Immediate notice of accident.  The operator or occupant of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person, any damage to state or other government-owned property, except a state or other government-owned vehicle, to an apparent extent of $200 or more, or total damage to property owned by any one person or to a state or other government-owned vehicle to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of such accident to the police department, the sheriff's department or the traffic department of the county or municipality in which the accident occurred or to a state traffic patrol officer.  In this subsection, “injury” means injury to a person of a physical nature resulting in death or the need of first aid or attention by a physician or surgeon, whether or not first aid or medical or surgical treatment was actually received;  “total damage to property owned by one person” means the sum total cost of putting the property damaged in the condition it was before the accident, if repair thereof is practical, and if not practical, the sum total cost of replacing such property.  For purposes of this subsection if any property which is damaged is held in a form of joint or multiple ownership, the property shall be considered to be owned by one person.

(1m) Law enforcement contact and involvement following an accident.  (a)1. No person in the business of towing, recovery, or repair of motor vehicles may contract for retrieval, recovery, or removal from the scene of a traffic accident described in sub. (1) of any motor vehicle that has sustained damage unless the person notifies, or has been contacted by, a law enforcement agency prior to retrieval, recovery, or removal of the vehicle.

2. This paragraph does not apply with respect to removal of a motor vehicle from the roadway at the scene of an accident if such removal is necessary to avoid imminent danger to motorists or other persons.

(b) No person may knowingly assist an operator or occupant of a motor vehicle involved in an accident as described in sub. (1) to flee the scene of the accident unless the accident has, or the person is advised that the accident has, first been reported to a law enforcement agency, except to provide medical assistance.

(2) Written report of accident.  Unless a report is made under sub. (4) by a law enforcement agency, within 10 days after an accident of the type described in sub. (1), the operator of a vehicle involved in the accident shall forward a written report of the accident to the department.  The department may accept or require a report of the accident to be filed by an occupant or the owner in lieu of a report from the operator.  Every accident report required to be made in writing shall be made on the appropriate form approved by the department and shall contain all of the information required therein unless not available.  The report shall include information sufficient to enable the department to determine whether the requirements for deposit of security under s. 344.14 are inapplicable by reason of the existence of insurance or other exceptions specified in ch. 344.

(3) Who to report when operator unable.  Whenever the operator of a vehicle is physically incapable of giving the notice and making the report required by subs. (1) and (2), the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident shall give the notice and make the report required by subs. (1) and (2).  If the owner of the vehicle is physically or mentally incapable of making the report required by sub.(2), and if there was another occupant in the vehicle at the time of the accident capable of making the report, the occupant shall make the report.

(3m) Duty of department with respect to accident reports.  (a) The department may require any operator, occupant or owner of a vehicle involved in an accident of which report must be made as provided in this section to file supplemental reports whenever the original report is insufficient in the opinion of the department and may require witnesses of accidents to render reports to the department.

(b) The department shall tabulate and may analyze all accident reports and shall publish annually or at more frequent intervals statistical information based thereon as to the number and circumstances of traffic accidents.

(c) The department shall prepare and supply at its own expense to police departments, coroners, sheriffs and other suitable agencies or individuals, forms or an automated format for accident reports required to be made to the department.  Any report forms and automated format shall call for sufficiently detailed information to disclose with reference to a traffic accident the cause, conditions then existing, and the persons and vehicles involved.

(4) Police and traffic agencies to report.  (a) Every law enforcement agency investigating or receiving a report of a traffic accident as described in sub. (1) shall forward an original written report of the accident or a report of the accident in an automated format to the department within 10 days after the date of the accident.

(b) The reports shall be made on a uniform traffic accident report form or in an automated format prescribed by the secretary.  The uniform traffic accident report form shall be supplied by the secretary in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of the department and the law enforcement agency.

(f) Notwithstanding s. 346.73 , any person may with proper care, during office hours, and subject to such orders or regulations as the custodian thereof prescribes, examine or copy such uniform traffic accident reports, including supplemental or additional reports, statements of witnesses, photographs and diagrams, retained by local authorities, the state traffic patrol or any other investigating law enforcement agency.

(g) The department, upon request of local enforcement agencies, shall make available to them compilations of data obtained from such reports.

(h) Every law enforcement agency investigating or receiving a report of a traffic accident as described in sub. (1) shall forward a copy of the report of the accident to the county traffic safety commission or to the person designated to maintain spot maps under s. 83.013(1)(a) in the county where the accident occurred when the accident occurred on a county or town road or on a street where the population of the city, village or town is less than 5,000.  For traffic accidents occurring within a city or village with a population of 5,000 or more, the law enforcement agency investigating or receiving a report shall forward a copy of the report of the accident to the city or village where the accident occurred.

(i) Whenever a law enforcement officer investigates or receives a report of a traffic accident subject to sub. (1), in which the operator of any vehicle involved in the accident displays a driver's license issued by the federal department of state or otherwise claims immunities or privileges under 22 USC 254a to 258a with respect to the operator's violation of any state traffic law or any local traffic law enacted by any local authority in accordance with s. 349.06 , the officer shall do all of the following:

1. As soon as practicable, contact the diplomatic security command center of the office of foreign missions, diplomatic motor vehicle office, within the federal department of state, to verify the status and immunity, if any, of the driver claiming diplomatic immunity.

2. Within 10 days after the date of the accident, forward a copy of the report of the accident, at no charge, to the diplomatic security command center of the office of foreign missions, diplomatic motor vehicle office, within the federal department of state.

(5) Falsifying reports.  No person shall falsely make and file or transmit any accident report or knowingly make a false statement in any accident report which is filed or transmitted pursuant to this section.


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