Section 172 Defence Approach 1 -
Section 172 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act requires the registered keeper of a vehicle to supply the identity of a driver.
If you fail to do this then the penalty is 6 points and a fine of up to £1,000. The court also has the power to impose a driving ban but rarely uses it prefering 6 points and large fines instead.
This web site was founded over 15 years ago to help people with legal motoring issues. Over the years we have had millions of visitors and have seen every type of offense thousands of times over. Accordingly we are well positioned to provide real world advice.
We can give you advice to help you avoid unjust points, fines and bans.
Section 172 issues. Normally this occurs after a Notice of Intended Prosecution (commonly know as a NIP) has been sent to a vehicles registered keeper along with a request to identify the driver (the Section 172 bit). If this is not returned or the driver is not named then you can expect to be in breach of the Section 172 legislation and if found guilty you will get 6 points and a big fine (up to £1,000).
The request to identify the driver would seem to conflict with the normal approach in law that you are not required to incriminate yourself. This has been challenged all the way up to the European Courts and has been rejected by the Courts - so this approach is not a solution to your problem.
You have three main defences to a Section 172 issue:
Section 172 Defence Approach 1 - Reasonable Diligence
Section 172 Defence Approach 1 - Reasonable Diligence
If more than one person is insured to drive the car and you cannot remember who was driving at the time then this can be a Statutory Defence as you really do not know who was driving at the time and hence cannot name the driver.
It is not quite that simple as otherwise everyone (including all the knowingly guilty ones) would use it to avoid points, fines and bans.
You will need to really show that you have used all Reasonable Diligence to try and work out who was driving.
What is Reasonable Diligence?
Sadly no exact definition exists as each case is defined by its individual circumstances.
However it will include that you have spoken with all the possible drivers and thoroughly questioned them about whether they were driving at the time, looked at diarys, calendars, work/shift patterns, school runs etc. to really show you have investigated it.
You will need to document all of this and provide the name and address of all the insured drivers and proof of insurance to support your case.
If you do this thoroughly enough then in many cases the Police will accept it and drop the case. However in many areas this process has been abused and the Police will not accept your claim and continue with the prosecution.
We work with one Motoring Lawyer that knows this area very well and what works and what does not work in each area and they have been able to get almost 94% of such cases dropped. They charge a fixed fee of £300 to do all of the work, which seems good value compared to a £1,000 fine and 6 points.
So in summary you have 3 options at this point: You can accept the 6 points and a big fine. You can take the advice above and try and do it yourself. We see that in around 25% of cases the DIY approach will work. Sadly in around 75% of cases it does not and you end up in court and get 6 points and a big fine. If you challenge it and lose the fine is normally near to £1,000.Or the option with the best chance of success (90%+) is to engage a specialist solicitor and get them to do all the work.
Email me here and we will get them to call you - do not forget to include your telepone number in the email if you want a swift response.
What NOT to do!
Do not pretend that a foreign friend was driving as the Police will not accept it and you can get into serious trouble for this.
Do Not ignore it and hope it will go away - I will not and you will end up in court. You need to do something about it quickly.
It may sound obvious, but do not name possible drivers unless they are insured to drive the vehicle. You must not drive a vehicle that is not insured or let anyone drive your vehicle unless you know they are insured.
Our experience is that your best option is to use a good sepcialist Motoring solicitor, we know which ones have the best results (90%+), so email me here and we will get them to contact you for a free initial chat. As they tend to charge less than your fine and the huge issue of getting 6 points this is the best approach.
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