TITLE 32. MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC REGULATION

CHAPTER 1. LOUISIANA HIGHWAY REGULATORY ACT

PART VII. PROCEDURE AND REPORTS

 

32:398     Accident reports;  when and to whom made;  information aid;  fees for copies;  fees for accident photographs

 

A. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or property damage in excess of five hundred dollars shall:

 

(1) Immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of the accident to the local police department if the accident occurs within an incorporated city or town or, if the accident occurs outside of an incorporated city or town, to the nearest sheriff's office or state police station.

 

(2) Give his name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he was driving and, upon request and if available, exhibit his license or permit to drive to any person injured in such accident or to the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle or other property damaged in the accident.

 

(3) Give such information and, upon request, exhibit such license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the accident or who is investigating the accident.

 

(4) If the accident occurs in a geographical area under order of evacuation by a competent authority or is under a declared state of emergency, comply with the provisions of Paragraphs (1) and (2) herein within seventy-two hours after the occurrence of the accident.

 

B. The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of one hundred dollars or more shall, within twenty-four hours after the accident, forward a written report of the accident to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.  Any person who violates the provisions of this Subsection may be imprisoned for not more than sixty days or fined not more than one hundred dollars, or both.

 

C. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections may require the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident, which is required to be reported by this Section, to provide a supplemental report when the original report is insufficient in the opinion of the department and may require witnesses of an accident to render reports.

 

D. It shall be the duty of the state police or the sheriff's office to investigate all accidents required to be reported by this Section when the accident occurs outside the corporate limits of a city or town, and it shall be the duty of the police department of each city or town to investigate all accidents required to be reported by this Section when the accidents occur within the corporate limits of the city or town.  Every law enforcement officer who investigates an accident, as required by this Subsection, shall instruct the driver of each vehicle involved in the accident to report the following to all parties suffering injury or property damage as an apparent result of the accident:

 

(1) The name and address of the owner and the driver of the vehicle.

 

(2) The license number of the vehicle.

 

(3) The name of the liability carrier for the vehicle, the name, address, and telephone number of the insurance agent who procured the liability policy providing coverage for the vehicle.

 

E. (1) Every law enforcement officer who investigates an accident shall initial the accident report form to show that the officer has complied with the provisions of Subsection D of this Section, and shall indicate on the accident report form whether the investigation is made at the scene of the accident or by subsequent investigation and interviews.

 

(2) Within forty-eight hours after completing the investigation, the investigating law enforcement officer shall forward a written report of the accident to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.  However, if the accident occurred within the corporate limits of a city or town, the enforcement office shall forward a written report of the accident to the police department of the city or town and a duplicate report to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections within forty-eight hours after completing the investigation.

 

F. The state police, any local police department, or any sheriff's office shall provide copies of crash reports to any interested person upon request and may charge a fee, not to exceed the sum of five dollars per report that does not exceed two pages, and seven dollars and fifty cents per report that exceeds two pages.

 

G. The state police, any local police department, or any sheriff's office shall provide copies of photographs of accidents or other photographs required of the investigating agency, video tapes, audio tapes, and any extraordinary-sized documents, or documents stored on electronic media, to any interested person upon request and may charge a reasonable fee for such copies.

 

H. Every person holding the office of coroner in this state, or, in the event of a vacancy in the office, the person performing the duties of coroner, shall report to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections and to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission the death of any person as a result of an accident involving a motor vehicle, and the circumstances of the accident within five days following such death.  Such reports shall be made on forms supplied or approved by the department as provided for in Subsection I of this Section.  Every hospital shall notify the coroner of the parish in which it is located of any death occurring in the hospital as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.

 

I. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections shall prepare and, upon request, shall supply to police, coroners, sheriffs, and other suitable agencies or individuals, forms for accident reports, calling for sufficient detailed information to disclose, with reference to a highway accident, the cause, conditions then existing, and the persons and vehicles involved.  All accident reports required by this Section shall be made on forms supplied or approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.  Each accident report form supplied or approved by the department shall contain directions to the investigating officer to instruct the parties to the accidents to exchange information as required in Subsection D of this Section and shall contain a place for the investigating officer to initial the report to indicate that he has given those instructions.

 

J. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections shall receive accident reports required to be made by this Section and may tabulate and analyze such reports and publish annually, or at more frequent intervals, statistical information based thereon as to the number, cause, and location of highway accidents.  Based upon its findings after analysis, the department may conduct further necessary detailed research to determine more fully the cause and control of highway accidents.  It may further conduct experimental field tests within areas in the state from time to time to prove the practicality of various ideas advanced in traffic control and accident prevention.

 

K. (1)(a) The reports required by this Section, and the information contained in the reports, shall be confidential, shall be exempt from the provisions of R.S. 44:1 et seq., and shall be made available only:  to the parties to the accident, parents or guardians of a minor who is a party to the accident, and insurers of any party which is the subject of the report;  to the succession representatives of those parties, or to the attorneys of the parties or succession representatives;  or to a news-gathering organization that requests documents related to the accident.  Upon request, accident reports shall be made available to the above-enumerated persons within seven working days following the completion of the accident investigation.  For the purposes of this Subsection:  "news-gathering organization" means any of the following:

 

(i) A newspaper, or news publication, printed or electronic, of current news and intelligence of varied, broad, and general public interest, having been published for a minimum of one year and that can provide documentation of membership in a statewide or national press association, as represented by an employee thereof who can provide documentation of his employment with the newspaper, wire service, or news publication.

 

(ii) A radio broadcast station, television broadcast station, cable television operator, or wire service as represented by an employee thereof who can provide documentation of his employment.

 

(b) In Orleans Parish, the local police department may charge a reasonable fee, not to exceed the sum of twenty dollars, to provide copies of accident reports.  State departments and agencies shall not be required to pay such fee.

 

(2) All persons and their agents are prohibited from screening accident reports if the person or his agent does not represent any of the persons involved in a particular accident, the report for which could reasonably be expected to be available.  However, this limitation shall not prevent any person from requesting particular reports regardless of whether the person represents any party in the accident.

 

(3) The information in the reports may be tabulated and included in the statistical information published under the provisions of Subsection J of this Section.

 

(4) Nothing in this Section shall prohibit the sale of police accident reports or other driving record information to consumers of on-line driving records under written contract for purchase of records with the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

 

(5) The information in the reports may be used by the office of motor vehicles for the purpose of maintaining operating records.

 

L. Whenever any person is involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person, or property damage in excess of five hundred dollars and the law enforcement officer investigating the accident has reason to believe that there exists a medical condition which constitutes cause for revocation or suspension under the provisions of R.S. 32:414(E), notification of such medical condition shall be made to the medical/conviction unit of the office of motor vehicles of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, provided that the law enforcement officer first consults with his superior officer as to his specific observations and such superior officer concurs with the issuing officer's belief.

 

M. (1) All police, state or local, shall immediately contact the Department of Transportation and Development district office when called to the scene of an accident where that department's property has been damaged in an amount which is estimated to exceed five hundred dollars.

 

(2) All police, state or local, shall forward copies of accident reports which indicate damage to property of the Department of Transportation and Development in an amount which is estimated to exceed five hundred dollars to the department's headquarters maintenance division within six days of the date of the accident without cost to the department.

 

Acts 1962, No. 310, § 1.  Amended by Acts 1970, No. 538, § 7;  Acts 1976, No. 414, § 1;  Acts 1980, No. 706, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1981;  Acts 1981, No. 913, § 1, eff. Aug. 2, 1981;  Acts 1982, No. 333, § 1;  Acts 1983, No. 133, § 1;  Acts 1984, No. 898, § 1;  Acts 1986, No. 348, § 1;  Acts 1988, No. 347, § 1;  Acts 1990, No. 960, § 1;  Acts 1992, No. 878, § 1;  Acts 1993, No. 538, § 1;  Acts 1995, No. 527, § 1;  Acts 1995, No. 1071, § 1;  Acts 1997, No. 112, § 1;  Acts 1997, No. 1036, § 1, eff. July 1, 1997;  Acts 1997, No. 1288, § 1;  Acts 1997, No. 1442, § 1;  Acts 1999, No. 310, § 1;  Acts 1999, No. 340, § 1;  Acts 2001, No. 1032, § 12;  Acts 2003, No. 508, § 1;  Acts 2011, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 9, § 1;  Acts 2011, No. 280,§ 1.