Normally, when a road traffic offence occurs, a S172 notice is sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle involved in the contravention. This notice asks the registered keeper to provide the details of the person driving at the time of the alleged motoring offence, if the registered keeper does not provide or reply to this notice, they are charged for failing to provide driving information. We understand however sometimes it is just not possible for the registered keeper to provide this information and so the Road Traffic Act does cater for innocent people to have a defense. We can explore the defenses for you.
There are two statutory defenses to this offence.
a. Reasonable diligence – this can only be raised by registered keeper who will have to prove that they tried their best to ascertain who was driving at the time of the incident or offence. While this defense exists albeit it is a difficult one to argue because the courts will often expect you to have used ‘exceptional diligence’. We suggest that if you have received a notice of intended prosecution and are unable to identify the driver then you should contact us for advice before responding to the notice.
b. Not practicable to name the driver – The Road Traffic Act states that one should not be convicted of failing to provide information if it can be shown that the registered keeper could not supply the information within the 28 days deadline. This is usually the case where the receipt of a notice is delayed, and the registered keeper cannot remember who the driver was at the time of the alleged offence, because the vehicle is shared and has a more than one driver insured.
We are aware of circumstances where the registered keeper has provided the information by post however still receives a charge for failing to provide information, this is common, and you should seek advice and representation to defend your case.