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Traffic Accident Charges in Queensland

Written by Michelle Makela

Michelle Makela is one of our Legal Practice Directors and the National Practice Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master’s in Criminology. Michelle has had a varied career, working in commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning. Michelle joined Go To Court Lawyers in 2011. She now supervises a team of over 80 solicitors across Australia.

Drivers in Queensland are required to follow strict rules when it comes to traffic accidents on public roads. This includes reporting the accident to the police, exchanging details with other motorists involved and assisting with any police investigation of the accident. There are also a number of charges that can result from a traffic accident in Queensland. These offences and the penalties are summarised in this article.

Charges that can result from a traffic accident in Queensland

Offences relating to the accident

The Transport Operations (Road use Management) Act 1995 requires any driver involved in a traffic accident to stop at the scene of the accident and assist any injured person/s to the best of their ability under the circumstances. Any failure to stop and assist may result in a fine of approximately $2,300 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months.

Further, the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2009 makes it an offence for a driver involved in a traffic accident to refuse to provide their personal information to any other person involved. This offence is punishable by a fine exceeding $2,000.

Driving uninsured

The traffic laws of Queensland require all motorists to have current registration for their vehicle, which includes compulsory third party insurance. This is provided for under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994. Under section 20 of this Act, it is an offence for a driver to operate a vehicle that is uninsured.  After a traffic accident, if the driver is found to have operated a motor vehicle that is uninsured, the maximum penalty that may be imposed for this offence is a fine of approximately $8,000.

Driving unlicensed or suspended

If the driver involved in the incident was driving whilst suspended or unlicensed there are various charges and penalties that may be imposed and include the following.

Charge Penalty
Unlicensed driving Fine of approximately $4,500 and/or 12 months imprisonment
Suspended driving Fine of approximately $4,500 and/or 12 months imprisonment and 2-5 year licence disqualification
Disqualified driving Fine of approximately $7,000 and/or 18 months imprisonment and extended licence disqualification of 2.5 years

Causing physical harm due to dangerous operation of vehicle

The Criminal Code 1899 provides that a driver may be charged with causing the death or grievous bodily harm of a person, if the driver was a substantial cause of the accident. This is a very serious offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. This penalty will be raised to 14 years imprisonment if the driver responsible for the accident was also driving at an excessive speed or fled the scene after causing the accident.

Your rights and obligations

When dealing with police, you always have the right to remain silent and not answer certain questions asked by an officer. However, please be aware that when involved in a traffic accident, you are required to provide the following details:

  • personal information including name and residence
  • your date of birth and where you were born
  • details surrounding the accident
  • any other question that Queensland legislation allows a police officer to ask.

It is always wise to comply with a direction given by an officer. If you feel uncomfortable about a question asked or direction given, you have the right to ask a police officer the purpose of the question and/or direction and whether you are required to answer or comply.


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