Failure To Provide Driver Details
Failure to Provide Driver Details (Section 172, Road Traffic Act 1988)
The law provides the police with powers to ascertain the identity of the person driving a vehicle at the time of any alleged motoring offence. This is referred to as the 172 Requirement which allows the police to require the registered keeper of a vehicle to identify the driver of the vehicle at a particular time. The requirement also extends to anyone else who can provide relevant information about the identity of a driver at a particular time. Failure to provide information about the identity of a driver at a particular time, when required to do so by the police, is an offence under Section 172.
The penalties for non-compliance of the 172 Requirement are 6 penalty points and a fine of up £1000. The court also has the power to impose a period of disqualification. Even if you were not the driver at the time of the original offence you could still receive 6 penalty points for failing to provide the relevant information to the police. Separate charges for attempting to pervert the course of justice can be raised if you name someone else as the driver when you know they were not.
The requirement to provide information as to who the driver was at the time of an incident is particularly used in Traffic Light and Speed Camera cases. This is because the driver is not immediately stopped, and the police do not know who was driving at the time. In such a case the police will issue a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), together with a requirement to identity the driver, to the registered keeper of the vehicle. A period of 28 days is usually provided within which to respond. If no response is provided then the police can bring a charge against the registered keeper of the vehicle, or any other person, for failing to provide the relevant information. In all cases it is essential that the prosecution prove that the request or notice for information was sent and was not returned. The terms of a 172 Requirement impose strict duties on people to clearly identify a driver. Individuals who ignore or seek to evade the requirement by claiming that they simply don’t know will find themselves subject to a prosecution. Such a response can be understandable, especially if you are unexpectedly visited by the police about a motoring offence that took place some time ago. In such circumstances you should ask for and be given sufficient time within which to make enquiries about who was driving your vehicle at a particular time.
The law allows a person charged with failing to identify the driver of a vehicle to rely on the statutory defence of reasonable diligence. In short, this means that you have made a real effort and taken all practical steps to find out who was driving. The onus is therefore on you to establish that you do not know and could not, with reasonable diligence, ascertain the identity of the driver. Further defences may be available if you can establish that the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) was not received by you or that your reply to it was not received by the police. If you have been charged in relation to failing to provide driver details within the Highlands and Islands, contact our office for advice on your options in defending this charge