Maryland Law on Obtaining Police Accident Reports

When police respond to the scene of an auto accident in Maryland, they file a police accident report on a standardized form called the Maryland Motor Vehicle Accident Report. Obtaining a copy of a police accident report is very important if you want to pursue a claim or lawsuit for injuries sustained in an auto accident. Below is a summary of Maryland law on obtaining police accident reports.

Maryland Public Information Act

The general right to obtain a copy of a police accident report originates from Maryland's Public Information Act - Md. Code, Gen. Prov. §§ 4-101, et seq. (sometimes referred to as the "freedom of information act").  This law basically gives citizens a general right to obtain copies of any public record documents from state and local governments and their agencies. 

COMAR Regulations

The Public Information Act creates a general right to obtain public records such as police accident reports, but it permits state and local agencies to enact specific regulations setting forth the terms and procedures for exercising that right and making requests. The regulations that apply to requesting and obtaining copies of police accident reports are set forth at COMAR T

A. In accordance with the provisions of Public Safety Article, §2-308, Annotated Code of Maryland, the following procedures will prevail concerning the conditions under which reports of specific motor vehicle accidents may be made available upon request to the public.
B. To allow a reasonable time for reports from the field to be received and processed by the Central Records Division, requests for copies of the reports will not be considered until at least 20 days after the date of the accident. Requests received before this time interval may be returned to the sender.
C. Copies of State Police investigated accident reports may be obtained either through the Central Records Division or reviewed at the installation in the area of the occurrence. To allow a reasonable time for reports to be received and processed, requests for review of the reports at the installation in the area of the occurrence will not be considered until at least 5 days after the date of the accident. Requests received before this time interval will be denied.
D. Requests for copies of accident reports shall be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope along with a nonrefundable check or money order in the amount of $4 for conducting each document search being requested, payable to the Maryland State Police. Any check or money order received by the Maryland State Police that is not for the exact amount of the transaction, or a check or money order that is made payable to an agency other than the Maryland State Police will be returned.
E. The following information shall be furnished on all requests:
(1) Exact date of the accident;
(2) Driver's name (exact spelling);
(3) If a fatal accident, deceased's name (exact spelling);
(4) Pedestrian or bicyclist's name;
(5) County;
(6) Route number; and
(7) Date of accident and MAARS report number, if known.


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