Failure to Identify the Driver as Required

Failure to Identify the Driver as Required, Failure to Furnish Driver Details, Failing to Identify a Driver, Section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988

If a vehicle is involved in a road traffic offence, such as speeding or failing to stop at a traffic light, it may activate automated cameras. As a result, a formal notice of intended prosecution and request for driver details will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle involved. Failure to identify the driver of the vehicle is a criminal offence in its own right, which can carry a more severe penalty than the original motoring offence.

Failure to identify a driver is an offence created by Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. If you are accused of failing to identify the driver, the police must prove that:

  1. You are the registered keeper of the vehicle that was involved in the original road traffic offence,
  2. You were sent the Notice of Intended Prosecution/Request to identify the Driver and received it within 14 days of the original motoring offence, and
  3. You failed to respond to this Notice with 28 days of receiving it.

The police will ordinarily send out a second Notice if there is no response to the first Notice. However, if they do not receive any response to this second s.172 Notice within 28 days, they will report the matter to the local Magistrates Court for a Summons to be issued.

The penalty for a failure to identify the driver under s.172 is a fine and mandatory 6 point driving licence endorsement.

This offence is an area of law that attracts a great deal of attention, and often specialist motoring lawyers will make highly technical legal arguments in order to defend their clients. It is not possible to outline these on this site, but the more common defences presented to the court include:

  • The Notice of Intended Prosecution was not sent within the strict legal time limits,
  • The registered keeper of the vehicle did not receive the original notice,
  • The registered keeper or nominated driver did return the notice, but the police did not receive it,
  • It was not possible to identify the driver at the time of the motoring offence

If you are accused of a failure to identify the driver, it is important that you take specialist legal advice about your situation. The risk of 6 points being endorsed on your driving licence will cause a massive increase in insurance premiums, and could even result in you being disqualified from driving under the “totting up” provisions. Such a seemingly minor matter can have drastic effects, and the cost could significantly outweigh the professional fees of a specialist motoring barrister or solicitor.

If you want to discuss whether we can represent you for a failure to identify a driver, or any other court matter, contact us to see how we can help you.

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