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Behind-the-Wheel

Info you need after a crash

QUESTION: Are we required to carry insurance papers within the car at all times? I'm helping a friend ask this as she was involved in a slight accident and the other party didn't have the insurance papers with her.

This short question actually has a two-part answer.

The first deals with the documents drivers are required to carry, and the second concerns the information they are required to produce when they are involved in a collision on a highway.

The drivers of all vehicles in B.C. must carry three documents with them and produce them on demand of the police.

They are:

  • Driver's licence
  • Vehicle licence
  • Vehicle insurance document.

As you will see, this can be especially important if you are not the vehicle's owner and are involved in a collision.

If another driver involved or a witness to the crash requests it, you must produce in writing the following particulars:

  • Your name and address, the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle
  • The licence number of the vehicle
  • Particulars of the motor vehicle liability insurance card or financial responsibility card for that vehicle or such of that information as is requested.

If you do not have these documents with you and the information is demanded, you may have difficulty supplying it. As you would expect, failing to supply the requested information is an offence.

Reluctance or inability on the part of the other driver to supply this information should immediately raise a red flag.

It could be an indication of an unlicensed or prohibited driver, improper vehicle license, expired insurance or a stolen vehicle. In order to protect yourself, it's time to start gathering information and recording it.

If the other driver will not co-operate, don't press the issue to the point that they become a threat.

Notify the police and use your cellphone to take pictures or write information down with a pen and paper. At the very least, record a description of the driver, their vehicle (including licence plate number) and any passengers that were inside.

You can never have too much information and this situation tells you that future difficulty is likely.

Time invested in recording as much as possible now may pay you back many times over in the future. Consider carrying a checklist in your glove box to help you cover all the bases.

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/collisions/producing-information-after-collision

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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