Failure to provide driver identity – Section 172 Offence
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The duty to provide information as to the identity of the driver of a vehicle arises under Section 172 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act.
Failure to comply with the requirement to identify a driver when a request for information is made by or on behalf of the Police, usually carries 6 penalty points with the possibility of a discretionary period of disqualification. The request is usually made with the Notice of Intended Prosecution or subsequent. The Police will often issue a reminder but when that is not responded to, prosecution generally follows.
By Section 172(2) of the 1988 Act a requirement can be made of “the person keeping the vehicle” to give such information as to the identity of the driver or “any other person” can be asked.
There have been attempts to demonstrate that these provisions are incompatible with the principles against self-incrimination but these arguments have been largely rejected.
There is a separate situation where a Company may be guilty of the offence but there may be a “reasonable diligence” defence available to a Company. Obviously, the power to endorse or disqualify cannot apply where an offence has been committed by a Company as a Company cannot hold a driving licence.
As well as a possible “reasonable diligence” defence for a Company, there may be a “postal defence” where the registered keeper or driver may wish to argue that the notices were not properly served. It is for the Police to show that the notice was sent to the correct address but they are not required to prove that it was received or that it arrived. To argue the point, the driver must show that the notice did not arrive by Royal Mail. There is a separate obligation to reply to a Notice of Intended Prosecution where served within 14 days.
It is sometimes the case that a driver will be summonsed for both the Section 172 offence of failing to furnish driver particulars and also the initial triggering offence itself, most usually speeding or a mobile phone offence or a contravention of a traffic signal, generally a red traffic light. In such circumstances it should be possible to persuade the Police or Crown Prosecution Service to proceed only with the speeding offence etc., rather than both allegations.
We would always advise you obtain assistance from specialist motoring lawyers for these types of offence in order for the case against you to be properly examined to see what is the appropriate plea.
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If you are facing prosecution for an offence of failing to provide driver details call the Motorist Defence Team at Rothera Sharp on 0800 088 6280.