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Understanding the duty to identify a driver and the consequences for non-disclosure.

Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTAS 1988) places a duty on the registered keeper of a motor vehicle to provide information as to the identity of the driver of the vehicle when required to do so by a police officer. This duty applies where the vehicle is alleged to have been involved in a road traffic offence. Failure to provide this information can result in serious consequences, including fines, penalty points, and even disqualification from driving.

Upon an offence being committed, the registered keeper is issued a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), combined with a requirement to provide details of the driver. However, the duty to provide the identity of a driver is not absolute. There are a few exceptions to the rule, such as where the registered keeper does not know who the driver is, or where the driver is a police officer or other emergency worker.

The law makes provision for such circumstances and offers registered keepers a defence if the information requested cannot be provided:

“A person shall not be guilty of an offence [under s.172(2)(a)] if he shows that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was”.

The consequences for non-disclosure

If a registered keeper fails to provide the identity of a driver when required to do so by a police officer, they may be guilty of an offence. This offence is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000, or up to 6 penalty points on their driving licence. In some cases, the registered keeper may also be disqualified from driving. Providing false information or intentionally misleading the police can result in even more serious consequences, including criminal charges and possible imprisonment.

If prosecuted, you will also be liable for meeting your legal costs. Legal proceedings can be both time-consuming and costly and non-disclosure could lead to legal expenses related to court appearances, which can be a heavy burden for individuals and organisations.

Failing to cooperate may affect your insurance premiums, as insurers could view non-disclosure as a breach of policy, potentially resulting in increased premiums or even policy cancellation. For businesses, there’s also the risk of reputational damage and undermining customer trust and confidence in the organisation's commitment to safety and responsibility.

Why it’s important to provide the identity of a driver

The duty to provide the identity of a driver is important for several reasons. First, it helps the police enforce the law and make offenders accountable for their actions. It also helps to protect innocent people from being blamed for road traffic offences that they didn’t commit and helps to ensure that insurance companies can pay out claims to victims of road traffic accidents.

The duty to provide the identity of a driver is an important aspect of road safety and law enforcement. If you receive a notice under Section 172, it is important to respond promptly and accurately to avoid serious consequences. If you’re in any doubt about your rights or how you should respond, seek professional legal advice.

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Noble Solicitors excel in providing expert assistance to clients in presenting strong arguments to mitigate speeding offences. Leveraging our extensive knowledge of traffic laws and regulations, we have a skilled team of solicitors who work closely with clients to gather relevant evidence, assess the circumstances surrounding the alleged offence, and develop persuasive strategies for reducing the severity of penalties. Whether it involves challenging the accuracy of speed measurement devices, questioning the reliability of witness statements, or highlighting mitigating factors, Noble Solicitors maintains a focus on meticulous preparation and effective presentation to ensure that clients receive comprehensive support throughout the entire legal process.

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