How to Read and Understand a North Carolina Accident Report

September 18, 2018 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
How to Read and Understand a North Carolina Accident Report

North Carolina Accident Reports

After you’re involved in an auto accident, the responding officer will investigate and prepare a written report of the accident. This report is referred to as a "crash report," "accident report," or sometimes "police report," and is provided by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to all law enforcement personnel to use. In North Carolina, an accident report is known as a "DMV 349".

***See the interactive accident report / DMV 349 below***

An accident report can play a crucial role in determining who is at fault and whether the insurance company will offer to pay for your damages. Obtaining and carefully reading your North Carolina car accident report is crucial in building a case for compensation.

If the responding officer was a local police officer or North Carolina Highway Patrol officer, then it is almost certain that a written report was completed. However, there are some rare instances where written accident reports are not filed and only driver information is exchanged. Some law enforcement agencies may use another form to report the accident. Regardless, these reports are important and copies can be obtained upon request.

"Where Can I Get My Accident Report?"

You can obtain your DMV 349 accident report from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles by:

  • Calling 919-861-3098
  • Visiting the DMV headquarters in person at 4121 New Bern Ave., Suite 150, Raleigh, NC 27610
  • Mailing the request form TR-67A to NCDOT-DMV Traffic Records Section, 3106 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27697

A car accident attorney at Riddle & Brantley can also assist in obtaining your accident report.

Understanding Your Accident Report (DMV 349)

While easily understood by law enforcement officers and attorneys, North Carolina accident reports (DMV 349s) can be difficult to read as an everyday driver. The DMV actually publishes an instruction manual to help you interpret the DMV 349. However, to help make things even simpler, we’ve created an interactive version of a police report to guide you. It breaks down each section of the report and shows the possible traffic violation codes that could be listed.

If you have questions about your accident report, contact Riddle & Brantley for a FREE, no-obligation consultation.

Click on a "blue circle" to learn more about that section of the accident report.  


Possible Contributing Factors

The DMV 349 accident report will assign a number to your accident that details the "contributing factors" that law enforcement determined played a role in causing the accident. These numbers are listed below.

0 = No contributing circumstances indicated

1 = Disregarded yield sign

2 = Disregarded stop sign

3 = Disregarded other traffic signs

4 = Disregarded traffic signals

5 = Disregarded road markings

6 = Exceeded authorized speed limit

7 = Exceeded safe speed for conditions

8 = Failure to reduce speed

9 = Improper turn

10 = Right turn on red

11 = Crossed centerline / going wrong way

12 = Improper lane change

13 = Use of improper lane

14 = Overcorrected / oversteered

15 = Passed stopped school bus

16 = Passed on hill

17 = Passed on curve

18 = Other improper passing

19 = Failed to yield right of way

20 = Inattention

21 = Improper backing

22 = Improper parking

23 = Driver distracted

24 = Improper or no signal

25 = Followed too closely

26 = Operated vehicle in erratic, reckless, careless, negligent, or aggressive manner

27 = Swerved or avoided due to wind, slippery surface, vehicle, object, non-motorist

28 = Visibility obstructed

29 = Operated defective equipment

30 = Alcohol use

31 = Drug use

32 = Other* (write in the narrative)

33 = Unable to determine

34 = Unknown

35 = Driver distracted by electronic communication device (cell phone, texting, etc.)

36 = Driver distracted by other electronic device (navigation device, DVD player, etc.)

37 = Driver distracted by other inside the vehicle

38 = Driver distracted by external distraction (outside the vehicle)

How Can an Accident Attorney Help?

When you receive your police report, it's vital that you carefully review the entire report for mistakes. The smallest error such as the wrong date or mixing up the vehicles could impact your case in a significant way. If you believe the report has errors, you need to speak with the investigating officer or an attorney immediately.

Even if your report appears accurate, you may still need a second set of eyes to review it and further investigate your accident. Our team of attorneys, investigators, and case staff have years of experience helping accident victims and we may be able to help you too. While you focus on your recovery, we’ll investigate the scene of the accident, interview witnesses, and manage your medical bills. From there, we’ll negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and stay in communication with you so that you’re kept in the loop about the status of your case.

Time is of the essence after an accident, so don't wait — contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.