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      RS 32:398     

  

§398. Crash reports; when and to whom made; information aid; fees for copies; fees for crash photographs and videos

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

            (1) Immediately give notice of the crash to the local police department if the crash occurs within an incorporated city or town or, if the crash 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 the crash or to the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle or other property damaged in the crash.

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

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

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

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

            C. Within forty-eight hours after completing the investigation, the investigating law enforcement agency shall forward a copy of the crash report or data contained in the report to the Department of Transportation and Development. However, if the crash occurred within the corporate limits of a city or town, the investigating law enforcement agency shall forward a copy of the crash report to the police department of the city or town and a duplicate report to the Department of Transportation and Development within forty-eight hours after completing the investigation.

            D.(1) The state police, any local police department, or any sheriff's office shall provide copies of crash reports and may charge a fee, not to exceed the sum of five dollars per report that does not exceed two pages, and not to exceed twenty dollars, inclusive of all service fees and other charges, per report that exceeds two pages.

            (2) If the state police establishes a lesser charge for electronic copies of crash reports, then a local police department or sheriff's office shall charge the amount established by state police for any electronic copies of crash reports provided pursuant to this Subsection.

            (3) All data and reports shall be owned by the law enforcement agency who created the report, and all collective data shall be owned by the state of Louisiana. Third-party vendors under contract with a state or local agency shall not be prohibited from selling individual crash reports on behalf of the agency. However, third-party vendors, including contracted agents of law enforcement entities, shall not sell any aggregated or compiled data owned either by the state of Louisiana or a local law enforcement entity, unless specifically authorized by the state of Louisiana.

            E. The state police, any local police department, or any sheriff's office shall provide copies of photographs of crashes or other photographs required of the investigating agency, video recordings, audio recordings, 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.

            F. 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 Transportation and Development the death of any person as a result of a crash involving a motor vehicle, and the circumstances of the crash within sixty days following the death.

            G. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections shall prepare and, upon request, shall supply the office of state police, a municipal police department, the sheriff's office, and any other authorized agency or individual, with electronic forms of crash reports that provide sufficient detailed information to disclose, with reference to a highway crash, the cause, conditions then existing, and the persons and vehicles involved. All crash reports required pursuant to this Section shall be provided on electronic forms approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections shall establish the format required for crash reports.

            H.(1) The Department of Transportation and Development shall receive crash data derived from the crash reports and may tabulate and analyze the data and publish annually, or at more frequent intervals, statistical information as to the number, cause, and location of highway crashes.

            (2) Based upon its findings after analysis, the Department of Transportation and Development may conduct further necessary detailed research to determine more fully the cause and control of highway crashes. It may further conduct experimental field tests within areas in the state occasionally to prove the practicality of various ideas advanced in traffic control and crash prevention.

            I.(1) 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 crash, parents or guardians of a minor who is a party to the crash, and insurers, or an insurance support organization under contract to provide claims and underwriting, of any party which is the subject of the report; to the succession representatives of those parties or the attorneys of the parties or succession representatives; or to a news-gathering organization that requests documents related to a specific crash. Upon request, crash reports shall be made available to the above-enumerated persons within seven working days following the completion of the crash investigation.

            (a) For the purposes of this Subsection, "insurance support organization" means any of the following:

            (i) Any person who regularly engages, in whole or in part, in the practice of assembling or collecting information about natural persons for the primary purpose of providing the information to an insurance institution or agent for insurance transactions, including the furnishing of consumer reports or investigative consumer reports to an insurance institution or agent for use in connection with an insurance transaction.

            (ii) The collection of personal information from insurance institutions, agents, or other insurance support organizations for the purpose of detecting or preventing fraud, material misrepresentation, or material nondisclosure in connection with insurance underwriting or insurance claim activity.

            (iii) Agents, governmental institutions, insurance institutions, medical-care institutions, and medical professionals shall not be considered "insurance support organizations".

            (b) For 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 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 who can provide documentation of his employment.

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

            (3) Nothing in this Section shall prohibit the sale of driving record information to consumers of online driving records under written contract for purchase of records with the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

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

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

            K.(1) All police, state or local, shall immediately contact the Department of Transportation and Development's district office or the local roadway owner when called to the scene of a crash where that department's or local roadway owner's property has been damaged.

            (2) Upon completion of the investigation, all police, state or local, shall make available, at no cost to the Department of Transportation and Development or the local roadway owner, copies of crash reports that indicate damage to property of the Department of Transportation and Development or the local roadway owner.

            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; Acts 2016, No. 104, §1; Acts 2018, No. 543, §1; Acts 2021, No. 317, §1.



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