Exchanging details following a vehicle / pedestrian collision

05 December 2018

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

A car is involved in a collision with a pedestrian, who is injured. The driver provides his details to the pedestrian under section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Is the pedestrian under a duty to provide his details to the driver? Can we provide the driver's details to the pedestrian and vice versa?

Answer:

Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 only applies to drivers of mechanically propelled vehicles on roads etc. Therefore, if a driver is involved in a collision with a pedestrian, whilst the driver has a responsibility to stop, exchange details and in certain circumstances report the accident, we are not aware of any legislative road traffic provisions that require the pedestrian to provide the driver with their details - if the pedestrian gave the information freely to the driver there shouldn't be a problem.

With regard to data protection issues and the police releasing information of the driver's details to the pedestrian, it is our understanding that paragraph 5(3)of Schedule 2 to the Data Protection Act 2018 may apply. It provides that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provisions do not apply to personal data where disclosure of the data -

(a) is necessary for the purpose of, or in connection with, legal proceedings (including prospective legal proceedings)

(b) is necessary for the purpose of obtaining legal advice, or

(c) is otherwise necessary for the purposes of establishing, exercising or defending legal rights,

to the extent that the application of those provisions would prevent the controller from making the disclosure.

Whilst we are of the opinion that this would cover the provision of the details of the driver to the pedestrian, we do not however think that this extends to the provision of the pedestrian's details to the driver. We have come to this conclusion based on the assumption that the pedestrian would be a complainant in a civil claim or a witness to a possible criminal offence, however this would be dependent upon the specific circumstances of the incident. Any disclosure of personal data by the police would need to be considered in light of all of the circumstances.

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