by Kevin McCombs*
Ever accidently tapped the car next to you when opening your door? Perhaps you parked just a little too close but didn’t realize it until lightly gliding alongside another vehicle. In either case, when there is damage (even slight damage) to the other vehicle, if you just keep going you may be charged with a crime.
Under the Texas Transportation Code § 550.024, when a driver hits a parked car, the driver has a duty to immediately stop, attempt to find the other owner, and give that person their name and address. If the owner of the other vehicle cannot be found, the information must be left on the car in a conspicuous, plainly visible place. Leaving an, “I’m sorry” note does not count as appropriate information.
SLS has seen a rash of these cases lately where a bystander reported the incident. The offenders have faced the police at their door charging them with Failure to Give Information and Render Aid. What! How do you render aid to a parked car? Yup – that is what ticket says. These tickets can turn into a Class B misdemeanor if the damage to the vehicle is more than $200.00 .
While one always can pose arguments about the charge and knowledge of damage, try to avoid the situation and potential fine and jail time entirely. If you hit a car do the right thing, give your information and own up to the accident.