The attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP announced the Washington State Legislature has changed the reporting requirements for injury accidents for when police must report drivers to the Department of Licensing.
Under current law, anyone who causes a crash that ends in “serious injury” is reported. That is now changed to suffering from “substantial bodily harm” under HB 1319, which has passed both chambers in Olympia and signed by Governor Jay Inslee.
In 1998, the Legislature enacted the Cooper Jones Act which, in part, established new police officer reporting requirements when a motor vehicle accident results in a fatality or serious injury, and that such a report must trigger a driver’s license reexamination
Current Law on Police Reports
State and local police officers present at the scene of any accident, or in possession of facts concerning an accident, must make a report in the same manner required of the parties to the accident and as fully as the facts of the accident permit. Such a police officer must also report to the Department of Licensing (DOL) on a prescribed form: when a collision has occurred that results in a serious injury; the identity of the driver involved in the collision when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the driver who caused the serious injury may not be competent to
operate a motor vehicle; and the reason or reasons for the officer’s belief.
Current Law on Driver’s License Reexamination
Driver’s License Reexamination. If DOL has good cause to believe that a licensed driver is incompetent or otherwise not qualified to be licensed, DOL may upon notice require such driver to submit to an examination. DOL must also require a driver reported by a police officer for a collision in which a fatality or serious injury has occurred to submit to an examination. Upon conclusion of an examination, DOL must take driver improvement action as appropriate and may suspend or revoke the driver’s license, permit the driver to retain the driver’s license, or issue a driver’s license subject to certain restrictions. DOL may also suspend or revoke the license of a driver who refuses or neglects to submit to an
New Law effective July 2023
The criteria for when police officers are required to report certain accidents to DOL, which would require the driver involved in the accident to submit to a driver’s license reexamination, is modified to when a collision has occurred that results in substantial bodily harm as opposed to serious injury.
Substantial bodily harm is defined as bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily part.
It is important to document and report automobile collisions, even when there appears to be no injury. Many injuries, especially soft tissue injuries, manifest hours after the collision. This legislation would help document and report collisions and injuries and help accident victims and the State of Washington.
Car Accident and Injury Attorneys Althauser Rayan Abbarno; Offices in Centralia and Olympia
For more information or a FREE personal injury consultation in Centralia or Olympia, call (360) 736-1301.