When to call the police

Please note: Do not ring the collisions unit to report a collision. To report a collision please contact 101 and in an emergency (a life is in danger) ring 999.

You do NOT need to call the police after a collision if:

If a person is involved in a collision in a public place (including a car park) and they have stopped and exchanged details with any other relevant person. This includes collisions where property is damaged or an animal is hurt.

Call 999 if:

  • someone is seriously hurt
  • the road is blocked
  • or the collision is causing a danger to other road users
  • you think a driver is under the influence of drink or drugs.

Email 101, or call 101 within 24 hours if:

  • a person is hurt but doesn't need emergency medical attention.
  • a person is unable to exchange details with another relevant person
  • a person's standard of driving was such that proceedings or driver retraining should be considered


A driver would not normally be prosecuted for a momentary lapse of attention.

BUT failing to look properly before commencing an action is not classed as a momentary lapse of concentration. A driver has to make sure it is safe before making a maneuver, like changing lanes on a motor way for example.

Hitting an animal

The law does not require you to report or exchange details for collisions involving deer, badgers, foxes, birds or cats but it may still be appropriate to let a relevant person know.

BUT if you collide with something and you are not sure what it was, report it to the police.

Please read the FAQ's - Road traffic collision within the Road collisions unit section of this website for more details

Source: Dorset Police

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

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