Article 129 Obligation to help

by Mark Nolan

1. Users of the roads who are involved in a traffic incident, are witnesses to one, or have knowledge of one, are obliged to assist or request assistance to attend to the victims, if any, provide their collaboration to avoid further danger or damage, to restore, as far as possible, the security of the road and clarify facts (article 51.1 of the articulated text).

“Omission of the duty of help” is considered a crime in the Penal Code article 195, with penalties of up to four years in prison in some cases. Do not forget that the obligation to help in an incident is not only those involved, but also the people who are witnesses or have knowledge of it. This obligation ceases at the moment in which the victim is assisted by someone. In an incident you must communicate your data and those of your vehicle to the people involved and / or the agents of the authorities. Failure to provide them will be grounds for serious sanctions. Remember that if there are no serious injuries and you are clear how the incident occurred and who is responsible, it will be enough to make a standard report, as long as the vehicles are not blocking the road.


After the incident, if there are no victims, it is clear how it happened and the cars can move, you must do so to a safe area to restore traffic movement and prevent a new incident from occurring. If not, you must signal the incident with the use of emergency triangles. Before you do this, do not forget to put on your reflective vest. If passengers get out of the car and walk along the road, it avoids them being hit. Never be outside the vehicle without using the reflective vest if the vehicle is on the road. Avoid using the hard shoulder to fill in a report, wait until you are in a safe area.

The most common error when a traffic incident happens is not using high-visibility vests, which makes us more visible to other road users, and the poor signalling of the accident.


In the photo we can see how one of the people involved in the incident, is helping the victim, but forgot to put on their high-visibility vest, but put the emergency triangle next to them. The purpose of the triangle is to warn drivers who are approaching that an incident has occurred, so they can moderate their speed or even stop their vehicle. If we place the triangle next to the incident, it is not fulfilling its function of warning in advance.

Adding to that, as seen in the image, it is night; we are putting ourselves in danger, not correctly signalling the incident or making our presence visible on the road.


Remember the rule P.A.S (Protect-Advise-Help).


2. Every road user involved in a traffic incident must, wherever possible:


A) Stop so as not to create a new danger to others.

If you have not been injured and it is possible to move the vehicles, please do not let them get in the way. Do not forget to wear the vest whenever you are on the road.    


B) Get a general idea of the circumstances and consequences of the incident, which will allow others to establish an order of priority, according to the situation, with respect to the measures to be taken to guarantee the safety of other road users, help the victims, provide their identity and collaborate with the authority or its agents.


C) Endeavour to restore or maintain the safety of the road and if it becomes apparent that any person had been killed or seriously injured or the authority or its agents had been warned, avoid modifying of the scene and of fingerprints or other tests that may be useful to determine responsibility, unless this would harm the safety of the injured or other road users.


D) Provide the wounded with the most appropriate aid, according to the circumstances, and, especially, seek medical assistance from the services that exist for that purpose.


E) Notify the authorities or its agents if it becomes apparent that any person had been injured or killed, as well as remain or return to the incident site until their arrival, unless authorisation had been given to leave the place or should lend help to the wounded or yourself being cared for; it would not be necessary to notify the authority or its agents, nor to remain at the scene, if only minor injuries have occurred, the safety of others is restored and none of the persons involved in the incident request it.

If you have to report an incident and you need an ambulance, police or fire department. Use the 112 emergency phone number. English speaking operators will assist you, they will pass the information to the nearest emergency services.

Remember that the official document to be filled out in the event of an incident is called “Amicable Agreement” or “European Accident Statement”. It is available in all the languages of the European Union, ask your insurer for a copy.


It is not a mandatory document, but it is advisable to take it in the car. Do not forget, that you have a period of 7 days from when the incident occurs, to send a copy to your insurance company. You must sign it at the bottom and do not forget to mention all the passengers of the vehicle, as well as the witnesses, if any. If you do not agree on any of the points of the amicable agreement, or that the opposing party does not provide their driver’s licence, or the insurance company of their vehicle, please request the presence of the police to verify the documentation.


F) In all cases, the identity of the driver must be shared with other people involved in the incident, if requested. When only material damage was caused and an affected part was not present, appropriate measures must be taken to provide, as soon as possible, the name and address, either directly or, failing that, through the agents of the authority.


G) Vehicle data must be provided to other people involved in the incident, if requested.

Remember that in case of an incident, you must provide your data and those of your vehicle, to the other road users involved in the incident.


If you do not agree on who is responsible for the incident or you have doubts, do not enter into discussions with the other road users. In these cases, the police should be notified. They will study the case and decide on the responsibility of the incident.           


3. Except in the cases in which it becomes obvious that help is not necessary, any user of the road that warns that a traffic incident has occurred, as long as they are not involved in it, must complete, as far as possible, the requirements established in the previous section, unless the authority or its agents appear at the scene.

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