S172 Road Traffic Act
Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act requires registered keepers of vehicles to effectively oversee those driving their vehicles. Registered Keepers must provide the identity of the person driving at the time of an alleged road traffic offence. This includes instances where un-manned devices (such as traffic enforcement cameras) detect road traffic offences.
As authorities are unable to identify the driver in these instances, they will refer to the registered keeper of the vehicle. The police will send a notice to the vehicle’s registered keeper. They will ask that they respond with the details of the driver allegedly involved in the offence. This may include information on the alleged offender’s whereabouts at the time of the incident.
Providing these details in itself, does not mean you have admitted to an offence. It merely means that the police have evidence of an offence, or suspect one has been committed. Receiving a notice means that the police would like to identify the driver at a particular time and date.
If you find yourself charged with an S172 offence it is usually due to one of two things:
1) You have not replied to the notice sent to you
2) You have not effectively identified the driver of the vehicle in your response to the notice
There are defences to a S172 offence should you be charged for failing to name the driver:
Cases in which you have done your utmost to identify the driver. This may include checking bank statements to determine who, for instance, paid for fuel on a particular day. It can include asking friends and relatives if the driver was them. To use this defence you must show you have done everything in your power to attempt to identify the driver.
Not Reasonably Practicable to Identify the Driver
The legislation states; you shall not be convicted of failure to provide driver information if you can prove that it was not ‘reasonably practicable’ to supply the information within the 28 days allowed. The legislation further states that outside of the 28 days; you will still have a defence if you can show that you provided the information ‘as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter’. Drivers who did not receive the request for information can use this defence.
Should you find yourself facing a S172 failing to furnish information charge the issues can often be complex.
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