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Failure to provide driver details

Road Traffic Act 1988, section 172 – Duty to give information as to identity of driver

Where the driver of a vehicle is alleged to be guilty of an offence …

the person keeping the vehicle shall give such information as to the identity of the driver as he may be required to give

and any other person shall if required … to give any information which it is in his power to give and may lead to identification of the driver.

A person who fails to comply with a requirement under the above shall be guilty of an offence. 

A person shall not be guilty of an offenceif he shows that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who was the driver of the vehicle.

A Section 172 Notice

Details of the driver of a vehicle are normally requested by post by the police with a ‘Section 172 Notice’.

When a requirement for the driver’s details is made, the “person keeping the vehicle” has a statutory duty to provide the driver’s details or any other person can be asked to “give any information which it is in his power to give and may lead to identification of the driver”. It is an offence under s172 of the Road Traffic Act if you do not provide the necessary information in the required format and in the required time frame.

A notice of intended prosecution

The police may send a notice of intended prosecution to the registered keeper of a vehicle in circumstances where the driver was not formally warned of potential prosecution at the time of the alleged offence. They do this because some offences require such a verbal or written notice to be given within 14 days of the alleged offence. Therefore, if the driver is not warned verbally at the time, this Notice of Intended Prosecution, sent through the post, will have the same effect.

The most common circumstances in which a Notice of Intended Prosecution will be sent to the registered keeper is for offences such as speeding offences detected by automatic camera or traffic light contraventions, usually supported by photographic evidence. There are also other circumstances when this Notice of Intended Prosecution can be sent to the registered keeper.

Possible Defences

Sometimes, it may be the case that you are unsure as to who was driving at the relevant time.

You are obliged, however, to take reasonable steps to establish who was driving. If you have used “reasonable diligence” to try and establish who was driving but have still not been able to, you may still receive a summons for the offence of failing to provide the driver’s information.

However, if you show the Court that you used “reasonable diligence”, this may provide you with a defence.