Motorists may soon have to get used to some new rules concerning when they need to file accident reports to the police.
Parliament is considering the “Cat’s Bill” which would require anyone who hits a cat “resulting in injury or death” to stop at the scene and provide information to the authorities.
Cat car accident reports: not mandatory
Currently, there is no obligation in the Road Traffic Act (1988) for drivers to file accident reports after incidents involving cats, although they must do so with dogs and other domesticated pets and some wildlife.
But the new law – proposed in a private members’ bill by MP Rehman Chishti – is looking to change that to make it compulsory to file accident reports when a cat is injured or killed by a vehicle.
The bill is also being championed by the pressure group Cats Matter which claims more than one in ten drivers has left a cat to die after a road accident.
As it stands, the Road Traffic Act states that if you hit a dog, horse, any cattle or sheep you must file accident reports with police.
Cats, foxes, badgers and deer – unprotected
But you don’t have to if you hit other animals such as cats, foxes, badgers or deer.
That means, currently, if you hit a deer, or run over a cat, you are within your legal rights to drive on with no nmeed to file accident reports.
It seems deer are particularly vulnerable and experts estimate between 40,000 and 75,000 of them are killed in collisions on UK roads every year. These accidents result in losses of £11 million in damage to vehicles.
If your car is damaged or the driver or passengers are injured as a result of a collision with an animal, you should be able to claim on your comprehensive car insurance, according to Adrian Flux insurance expert Daniel Clark.
Problems apportioning blame after animal accidents
If the animal is a pet or a farm animal you could, in theory, try to establish that the owner is responsible for the accident, in which case they would be liable for your costs. But in reality blame in such circumstances is hard to apportion.
That means, invariably, it is your comprehensive insurance and no claims bonus that will have to take the hit no matter whether accident reports are filed or not.
The Government provides regularly updated guidelines of how and when you need to report a dead animal in the road, whether you have been involved in an accident with it or not.