Minor Traffic Accident? Move Your Vehicle Out Of The Road (New Law)

Minor Traffic Accident? Move Your Vehicle Out Of The Road (New Law)

Friday, July 02 2010 @ 09:36 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 46
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com – One of the things that really screws up traffic in Panama City is that every time there’s a minor fender-bender at an intersection, the drivers leave their vehicles exactly as they were at the time of the accident and wait for hours for the traffic police to show up. The reasoning is (was) that the police officer would make some kind of a statement on the form indicating who was at fault. The end result of this policy is daily traffic jams, caused by these little fender benders. The National Assembly recently passed a new law changing this. If there is a minor traffic accident – meaning, an accident with no personal injuries – then both drivers are to move their cars out of the roadway, exchange their personal information using a new form that will be developed by the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT), and go on their merry way. Both drivers then have to turn that for in within 72 hours of the accident, and the ATTT will make a ruling as to who was responsible. If there is an injury, then the old rules of “don’t move the vehicles” still apply. Here is a translation of the new law, which, by the way, has already been published in the “Gaceta Oficial” so it’s the law of the land, right now. I am also providing a link to the original document in Spanish which you might want to print out and keep in your car. I expect it will take a few years before everyone is dialed into the new paradigm. Anyway, here’s the translation of the new law… (more)
Law 21 of 28 May 2010

Which dictates measures on minor traffic accidents which occur on the public streets of the country.

The National Assembly Decrees:

Article 1: When a minor traffic accident occurs on the public streets in the country, the drivers involved should move the vehicle out of the roadway, before the interchange of the “Single and Definitive Form” described in Article 4.

Article 2: For the previous article, a minor traffic accident is any collision occurring between one or more motor vehicles, whose damages, produced by the impact, permit the vehicles to be moved out of the roadway by their drivers, as long as the vehicle occupants or third persons were not injured in any way, in which case the elements described in Article 5 will be applied.

Article 3: The Ground Transit and Transportation Authority, together with the Department of Traffic Operations of the National Direction of the National Police, will adopt a “Single and Definitive Form” which will be used by the drivers involved in minor traffic accidents to capture the necessary data in order to determine responsibilities.

Article 4: The drivers of motor vehicles involved in a minor traffic accident will exchange the Single and Definitive Form, which they will have in their vehicles, which will contain the following information;

1. The general information of the people involved.

2. The description of the vehicles.

3. The name of the street or avenue, the neighborhood, district, and province where the accident occurred.

4. The circumstances of the time, manner, and place where the accident occurred.

5. The approximate time, the weather conditions, the circumstances in the road, and the final position of the vehicles. If possible, the facts should be proven through photographs, videos, or any available technology that facilitates a description of the accident. The drivers or the owners of the vehicles will present the Single and Definitive Form to the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority and copies of the insurance documents for the vehicle within seventy two hours after the occurrence of the accident.

Article 5: When a traffic accident occurs in which the vehicles involved suffer damages prohibiting them from being moved out of the roadway by their drivers, or if the vehicle occupants or third parties are injured in any way, the presence of an inspector from the Department of Traffic Operations of the National Direction of Operations of the National Police will be necessary, who should fill out a traffic accident form to determine responsibilities. Also, the presence of an inspector might be required if the parties involved do not reach an agreement with regards to who is responsible for the minor traffic accident after having moved the vehicles.

Article 6: Driver’s licences for those people who are older than 70 years of age will be valid for two years, with the exception of the restrictions for violations established by law and regulations, and at a 50% discount in cost.

Article 7: The Executive Branch will issue regulations on this law within sixty days from it’s proclamation.

Article 8: This law will take effect the day after it’s proclamation.

Project 59 of 2009 approved in third debate in the Justo Arosemena Palace, Panama City, 30 April 2010.

Signed, President of the National Assembly, Jose Luis Varela R.

Signed, General Secretary of the National Assembly, Wigberto E. Quintero G.

(End of Translated Law)

Editor’s Comment: Click on this link to download a copy of the original Spanish language version of this law to your computer. I am going to put a copy of this law, in Spanish, in the glove box of my vehicles so I can show it to other drivers who might not be aware that the rules have changed.

Observations: The “spirit and intent” of this law is to allow drivers to move their vehicles out of the roadway, exchange information, and be on their way without having to wait four or five hours for a traffic cop to show up. Right now, if you are involved in a minor fender bender in Panama City at 4:30 pm, you’re probably not going to get home before 9:00 pm at the very best. The situation will be worse if it’s raining, if there are a lot of accidents simultaneously due to bad weather or visibility, etc. In most cases one drivers says “yup, I screwed up, my fault…” Now, both drivers will be allowed to simply exchange information and report the details to the ATTT. They make a decision and the guilty party will have to pay for the damages. Done, quick and easy. However if someone is injured you can’t move the vehicles. Also, if there is some disagreement over who was at fault, apparently you’re supposed to move the vehicles and wait for a traffic cop to show up anyway to break the tie. But, you’re still supposed to move the vehicles out of the roadway no matter what, if no one is injured, and if the vehicles are not so badly damaged that they can’t be moved. Anyway, I see this as one more small little incremental step towards fixing problems with traffic in Panama City. The law was published in the Gaceta Oficial on 2 June 2010 so the ATTT has until 2 August 2010 to produce and issue the new “Single and Definitive Form” that we will all have to carry in our cars from now on.

Permission To Use and Disseminate: Please spread this information far and wide. I don’t care if you use this information, including the translation, as long as you give credit to the source as www.panama-guide.com. If you want to link to this article on your website, point browsers to URL http://www.panama-guide.com/article.php/201007020936510 – and thanks.

And As Usual: Thanks, Russ, for the heads up…

Copyright 2010 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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