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reporting vehicle Accidents

What are the top five traffic violations that cause accidents?

  1. Following Too Close - VC 21703 (a)
    You must follow the vehicle in front of you at a distance that allows you to stop, no matter how quickly that vehicle stops. The three-second rule will allow you to easily judge this distance. The three-second rule indicates that if you see the vehicle in front of you pass an object (i.e., crosswalk line, light pole, etc.) you should not pass that same object in less than three seconds.
  2. Failing to Stop for Red Signal Lights - VC 21453 (a)
    California law doubles the fine for red light violations.
  3. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs - VC 23152 (a)
    For more information please visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles webpage on Driving Under the Influence DUI General Information.
  4. Speeding - VC 22350
    In excess of the posted speed limit, or driving at any speed that is unsafe, based on the conditions present (rain, fog and other conditions may dictate that even the posted speed is not safe).
  5. Left Turns - VC 21801 (a)
    A driver may not negotiate a left turn when another vehicle is approaching head on, that is so close as to be a hazard. For more information on California Vehicle Codes, please refer to the DMV Vehicle Code General Provisions and Divisions.

What should I do if I've been involved in a traffic accident?

You should first ensure that no one is injured. If no one is injured, all parties (drivers) should exchange the following information: driver license numbers (if in possession or known); vehicle license numbers, names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers (passengers, if possible); and the names of the insurance companies of the drivers involved. The involved persons should also write down the location where the traffic collision occurred (utilizing cross street names or addresses and street names), and the time it occurred. If injuries are involved, please see below.

vehicle accident reporting requirements

It is the policy of the Sacramento Police Department that a vehicle accident report will be taken by the Police Department at the scene of the accident (within the city of Sacramento) when any of the following reporting conditions occur:

  • A person involved in the traffic collision has been injured (complaining of pain is considered injury) or dies.
  • One of the drivers is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • One of the drivers has fled the location without stopping to exchange information or check on the welfare of the other parties involved, and the license plate of the hit and run vehicle is obtained.
  • City property is involved (City vehicle, light post, signal light, etc.).

If any of the above conditions are met at the scene of a vehicle accident, the Sacramento Police Department should be notified by dialing 911 in the case of an emergency or (916) 264-5471 for non-emergencies.

In addition to filing a traffic collision report with the Sacramento Police Department, it may also be necessary to file a California Department of Motor Vehicles report using the Traffic Accident Report Form SR-1. Any person involved in a traffic collision, that meets the criteria, can file a Sacramento Police Department online report. The report should be made as soon as possible. The person reporting the collision will need the following information:

  • The time and location (street address/cross streets) where the collision occurred.

  • The license plate number of the vehicle he or she was driving when involved in the traffic collision.

  • Driver license number.

  • Insurance information (name of the insurance company and the policy number).

  • The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all passengers in their vehicle.

  • If known, the license plate numbers, names, addresses, and phone numbers of all other involved drivers and passengers.

How can I obtain a copy of an accident report?

Please see Requesting Reports.

Where do I get information about my driver license or vehicle registration?

You will need to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles.