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H.B. 280






Sponsor: LaVar Christensen

             6      This act modifies the Motor Vehicles Code by amending accident report disclosure
             7      provisions. This act requires the responsible law enforcement agency employing the
             8      investigating officer to disclose the accident report and upon written request any
             9      accompanying data within ten days of the receipt of a written request, unless the
             10      disclosure interferes with an ongoing criminal investigation or criminal prosecution.
             11      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             12      AMENDS:
             13          41-6-40, as last amended by Chapter 85, Laws of Utah 2001
             14      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             15          Section 1. Section 41-6-40 is amended to read:
             16           41-6-40. Accident reports -- When confidential -- Insurance policy information --
             17      Use as evidence -- Penalty for false information.
             18          (1) As used in this section[,]:
             19          (a) "Agent" means a person's:
             20          [(a)] (i) attorney;
             21          [(b)] (ii) insurer; or
             22          [(c)] (iii) any other individual or entity with signed permission from the person to
             23      receive the person's accident report.
             24          (b) "Accompanying data" means all materials gathered by the investigating peace
             25      officer in an accident investigation including:
             26          (i) the identity of witnesses and, if known, contact information;
             27          (ii) witness statements;

             28          (iii) photographs and videotapes;
             29          (iv) diagrams; and
             30          (v) field notes.
             31          (2) Except as provided in Subsection (3), all accident reports required in this article to
             32      be filed with the department:
             33          (a) are without prejudice to the reporting individual;
             34          (b) are protected and for the confidential use of the department or other state, local, or
             35      federal agencies having use for the records for official governmental statistical, investigative,
             36      and accident prevention purposes; and
             37          (c) may be disclosed only in a statistical form that protects the privacy of any person
             38      involved in the accident.
             39          (3) (a) [The] Subject to the provisions of this section, the department or the responsible
             40      law enforcement agency employing the peace officer that investigated the accident shall
             41      disclose an accident report [and its accompanying data] to:
             42          (i) a person involved in the accident, excluding a witness to the accident;
             43          (ii) a person suffering loss or injury in the accident;
             44          (iii) an agent, parent, or legal guardian of a person described in Subsections (3)(a)(i)
             45      and (ii);
             46          (iv) subject to Subsection (3)(d), a member of the press or broadcast news media;
             47          (v) a state, local, or federal agency that uses the records for official governmental,
             48      investigative, or accident prevention purposes;
             49          (vi) law enforcement personnel when acting in their official governmental capacity;
             50      and
             51          (vii) a licensed private investigator.
             52          (b) The responsible law enforcement agency employing the peace officer that
             53      investigated the accident:
             54          (i) shall in compliance with Subsection (3)(a):
             55          (A) disclose an accident report; or
             56          (B) upon written request disclose an accident report and its accompanying data within
             57      ten business days from receipt of a written request for disclosure; or
             58          (ii) may withhold an accident report, and any of its accompanying data if disclosure

             59      would jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation or criminal prosecution.
             60          [(b)] (c) In accordance with Subsection (3)(a), the department or the responsible law
             61      enforcement agency employing the investigating peace officer shall disclose whether any
             62      person or vehicle involved in an accident reported under this section was covered by a vehicle
             63      insurance policy, and the name of the insurer.
             64          [(c)] (d) Information provided to a member of the press or broadcast news media under
             65      Subsection (3)(a)(iv) may only include:
             66          (i) the name, age, sex, and city of residence of each person involved in the accident;
             67          (ii) the make and model year of each vehicle involved in the accident;
             68          (iii) whether or not each person involved in the accident was covered by a vehicle
             69      insurance policy;
             70          (iv) the location of the accident; and
             71          (v) a description of the accident that excludes personal identifying information not
             72      listed in Subsection (3)[(c)](d)(i).
             73          (4) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (4)(b), accident reports filed under this section
             74      may not be used as evidence in any civil or criminal trial arising out of an accident.
             75          (b) (i) Upon demand of any party to the trial or upon demand of any court, the
             76      department shall furnish a certificate showing that a specified accident report has or has not
             77      been made to the department in compliance with law.
             78          (ii) If the report has been made, the certificate furnished by the department shall show
             79      the date, time, and location of the accident, the names and addresses of the drivers, the owners
             80      of the vehicles involved, and the investigating officers.
             81          (iii) The reports may be used as evidence when necessary to prosecute charges filed in
             82      connection with a violation of Subsection (5).
             83          (5) A person who gives information in reports as required in this chapter knowing or
             84      having reason to believe that the information is false is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-7-03 4:29 PM

A limited legal review of this legislation raises no obvious constitutional or statutory concerns.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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