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Solicitor Advice: Failing to Provide Driver Information
If you have received a notice of intended prosecution and/or a request for drivers’ information it is important that you respond to that notice within the required 28-day period, even if you are not the driver or if you do not recognise the vehicle in question. Any failure to provide driver information when requested means that you could be prosecuted for the offence of ‘failing to provide driver information’.
Receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution for a motoring offence can be daunting, especially when combined with the crucial Request for Driver Information.
Our legal team at Caddick Davies Solicitors regularly advises on these cases and ensures clients avoid conviction for Failure to Provide Driver Information under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
We understand the 28-day response deadline, defences around not knowing the driver’s identity or not receiving the notice, and options if you miss the deadline. Whether you simply need advice on completing the form accurately or could risk losing your driving licence, we’re here to help guide you through the process.
Contact us anytime on 0151 944 4967 for free, no-obligation advice on how to respond.
A conviction for Failing to Provide Driver Information or failing to provide details of the driver can bring harsh penalties. Learn more below on notices, obligations, statutory defences, and steps to avoid prosecution for failing to provide driver details.
There are a few key ways you can commit the offence of failing to provide driver information:
In summary, the offence can occur by failing in your legal duty as the registered keeper to accurately provide driver information when requested within the mandatory 28-day response deadline.
A notice of intended prosecution is an official document issued by the police under Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. It is a notice that informs an individual that the police are considering prosecution for an alleged motoring offence connected to a specific vehicle however, that does not always mean that you will be prosecuted.
This notice is usually sent combined with a request for drivers’ information. A request for drivers’ information is provided for by Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and requires the registered keeper to respond to that notice, nominating the driver of the vehicle.
A notice of intended prosecution can be issued for several motoring road traffic offences, such as:
Under Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 one of the below must occur for an individual to be charged with an offence:
If you are stopped at the roadside for a motoring offence then the police should issue the driver with a verbal notice of intended prosecution. As the driver has been identified at the roadside, there is no requirement to send a written notice to the registered keeper and request for the driver’s identity.
If however, the driver was not stopped at the roadside – either as it was not possible to stop the driver or if the driver was detected by a camera – then a written notice of intended prosecution will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
The notice of intended prosecution will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle. This will be who the vehicle is registered with the DVLA as being the owner of the vehicle. The notice will be sent to the recorded address of the owner of that vehicle. It is therefore important the registered keeper’s current address is up to date. You can update your address using the vehicle’s logbook (V5C).
In accordance with Section 1(1)(c) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 a notice of intended prosecution and/or request for drivers’ information must be received by the registered keeper within 14 days of the alleged offence unless:
If the above exceptions do not apply and you have received a notice of intended prosecution outside of the 14 days then it is recommended that you seek legal advice.
You may be able to have the matter dropped or may have a valid defence to the charge if you did not receive the notice within this period.
If you receive a notice of intended prosecution and/or request for driver information you will be required to respond within 28 days of the notice being sent. In some cases, if you do not respond within 28 days then the police may send you a reminder allowing a further period to respond.
If you have received the notice late and realise that the 28 days have expired it is worth contacting the police immediately to ask for an extension.
If you fail to respond to the notice within 28 days then this could result in prosecution for an offence of failing to provide drivers information under Section 172(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
This will result in an MS90 conviction. The penalty for such an offence is:
You may be able to defend such a charge on one of the below grounds:
If you have received a notice and you do not know who the driver was then you need to ensure that you exercise ‘reasonable diligence’ in trying to ascertain who the driver was.
If it is your vehicle and numerous individuals have access to that vehicle then that may involve discussing in depth with those individuals who could have been driving that day, checking your diary or checking a driver’s log if you keep one.
If you have exercised ‘reasonable diligence’ to identify the driver then you may have a defence available to you under Section 172(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
You will need to prove on the ‘balance of probabilities’ (i.e., more likely than not) that reasonable diligence had been exercised.
If you did not receive the notice, then you may also have a valid defence to the charge. This defence however is only available when you did not receive the notice through no fault of your own.
There may be certain instances when you did not receive the notice for the following reasons:
Or quite simply, you did not receive the notice and there is no explanation as to why.
You would be able to defend the notice according to Section 172(7)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 because it was not ‘reasonably practicable’ for you to respond, as you did not receive the notice.
If you failed to update your address with the DVLA when you moved house, then this defence would not be available to you. Or if you were away from the property for a significant period and did not have a system in place to have access to your post, resulting in failing to provide driver details.
If you have filled out and returned the driver information request form, here’s what to expect next:
You May Receive a Penalty Notice
You Could Be Charged Despite Responding
Keep Post Response Evidence to avoid being alleged to have committed the act of failing to provide information.
If you sent back the completed driver information request after the 28-day deadline, you still may be able to defend against charges.
Late Response Defence
You can argue your defence under Section 172(7)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 – that you provided the details as soon as reasonably possible.
Explain Why Late
To use this defence against failing to provide information, you need to explain why your response was late such as:
Reasonable Excuse Can Work
If your excuse is considered reasonable, you may avoid conviction for late response under this defence.
Many clients ask if they can get access to any photos or video related to their case, especially evidence from speed cameras. The short answer is – you can ask for the identity of the driver, but police are not obligated to provide anything. For example, a photograph is usually taken when a speed camera is activated and you may want to see that photograph to try and determine who was driving. Be sure to make any evidentiary requests right away, within that crucial 28-day window after receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution.
Another common question is – what if there is no video footage or photographs documenting the alleged offence? Many people assume the police need definitive photographic evidence to prosecute a driving offence. However, charges can still be brought based solely on witness statements from police officers or civilian witnesses describing your driving violation.
In these cases, you would need to defend yourself in court by disputing the reliability and credibility of the witness accounts. Having a clean driving record goes a long way in strengthening your credibility and character if it comes down to your word against a witness statement.
Responding is Not Admission of Guilt, but failure to provide details may lead to penalties.
Whether or not you were driving the vehicle in question at the time of the alleged offence, you have a legal obligation to respond to any notice of intended prosecution that is addressed to you. It is important to remember that responding is not an admission of guilt and you will be able to defend the allegation at a later date if required.
Defending After Naming Yourself for Speeding
If you nominate yourself as the driver for a speeding offence, you may be able to defend the charge in court. You will need to resile from the admission that you made and provide an explanation as to why you nominated yourself initially.
Risk of Further Charges
If you intentionally nominated yourself to prevent another individual from being charged however then you face the risk of being charged with perverting the course of justice, therefore, this defence may only be available to you if you made a genuine mistake.
Disputing Careless/Dangerous Driving
If you nominate yourself as a driver of a vehicle for an offence such as careless driving or dangerous, you may have done so because you were driving at that date and time, but you do not agree that any such offence has been committed. Please contact us if you are in this position and we will be able to advise if you have a defence available to the offence that you have been charged with.
In conclusion, failing to provide driver information when requested after a motoring offence notice carries serious penalties. As the registered keeper, you have a legal duty to accurately identify the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence within 28 days.
If you do not respond at all or fail to name the driver, you risk conviction under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act, facing fines up to £1000, prosecution costs, 6 penalty points and potential driving bans. Limited defences exist like not knowing the driver’s identity after reasonable efforts or not receiving the notice through no fault of your own.
Providing false or inaccurate driver information also leads to additional charges of perverting the course of justice meaning you should complete driver nomination forms fully and truthfully.
At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we have a team of specialist motor defence lawyers who specialise in representing drivers facing failure to provide driver information charges. From the simplest to the most complex of cases, we are here to help.
Experienced motoring offence lawyers can maximise chances of avoiding prosecution if responses are late with reasonable excuses or for inaccuracies if mistakes are genuine
We start every enquiry with an informal discussion to get a clear understanding of your circumstances and are here to answer any questions that you may have in confidence. We will talk you through the offence you have been charged with and we will advise on the options available to you.
You can contact our office for a free consultation on 0151 944 4967.
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