Safe Hit-and-Run Procedures Illuminated

Emma Barr and Courtney Attard

Miramonte students are new drivers so minor accidents are common. We’ve all been stressed out, late to school or preoccupied to the point that we didn’t see that car backing up or accidentally scratched someone’s bumper. The added stress of a car accident, no matter what degree can seem overwhelming in the moment.

The most important thing do if you get into an accident is to stay calm. Don’t underestimate the power of a deep breath to help you think more clearly. You are responsible for reporting the accident to the police or California Highway Patrol, no matter the severity.

In the case of a hit-and-run, contacting the police is of utmost importance. After assessing the accident, you must present your drivers license, registration, policy number and the current addresses of any people involved to the police officer. He or She can help establish liability and will write a police report that will help you file an insurance claim for any damage.

In California, failure to stop at the scene of an accident that you are involved in could result in misdemeanor hit-and-run charges. Misdemeanor hit-and-run charges include: up to three years of informal probation, a maximum of six months in a county jail, up to $1,000 in fines plus court determined penalties, reimbursement to any victims whose property you damaged, and two points on your driving record.

Last year, senior Milan Winter got into a minor car accident in the Junior lot. “I was backing up and someone didn’t look behind them and they backed right into my car and drove away,” Winter said. “I didn’t really know what to do so I got the license plate number. I figured the damage wasn’t bad enough to do anything else.”

For on campus collisions, the administrative office is only here to help and can help you contact the other student involved. Associate Principals Michael McAllister and Jan Carlson can help act as a mediator. “Generally people will be pretty forthcoming if there is an adult involved, so it’s best to take a step back and allow somebody to facilitate the situation,” Carlson said.

If you witness a hit-and-run, report it to the administrative office. “Your safety is of utmost concern to us,” Carlson said. If you hit a parked car or damage property, but are unable to find the owner, leave a note with your name and phone number.

If you arrive at your car after school and notice that it has been hit, call the police. “We don’t get involved at all unless a student needs some help,” Carlson said.