In a recent case heard at Exeter Magistrates Court, both a husband and wife were convicted, fined, and had their licences endorsed with six penalty points after magistrates found that they had failed to identify who had been driving their vehicle.
The case involved the couple’s vehicle being clocked speeding, following which, the usual Notice requesting information to identify the driver was sent to the wife as the Registered Keeper of the vehicle.
As both she and her husband would use the vehicle and indeed had both used the vehicle that day, she could not recall whether she or her husband had been driving at the relevant point in time.
Photographic evidence, whilst identifying the vehicle concerned, failed to identify the driver.
As a result, her husband was also sent a Notice to identify the driver, with a similar response.
As both were unable to identify who was driving at the time, summonses were served against each of them alleging failure to provide information as to the identity of the driver pursuant to S172 Road Traffic Act 1988, on the basis that it was for them to satisfy the court that they genuinely did not know who was driving at the time.
When the matter came before the court, neither attended with a view to establishing their case that they did not know who had been driving and they were convicted in their absence.
The legal requirement under S172 is to provide information as to the identity of the driver when requested to do so by the police. If a person is served with a Notice and fails to provide such information, then, in the absence of very good reason why that person is unable to provide such information, then the police will usually prosecute for failing to provide such information, with that person being left to persuade the court, by giving evidence, why he /she could not genuinely recall who was driving.
In the vast majority of cases, it is simply not enough to say “I don’t know who was driving”, or ” It might have been me or it might have been my husband”, as the court will need to be satisfied that all reasonable attempts had been made to trace the driver. As the onus will be on the person served with such Notice to provide reasons as to why they cannot identify the driver, it will be a rare case where such a defence will be established.
In the case in hand, both were fined and received 6 penalty points each on their licences as the offence of failing to provide such information, when requested to do so, carries a fixed 6 penalty points, whereas the offence of speeding itself carries 3-6 points.
For more information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or firstname.lastname@example.org