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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’.

Avoid Conviction – Understanding Failure To Provide Driver Details

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.

How Can I Commit The Failing To Provide Driver Information Offence? 

There are a few key ways you can commit the offence of failing to provide driver information:

  1. Not responding at all to a notice of intended prosecution and request for driver information that is sent to you as the registered keeper of a vehicle. Even if you were not driving or did not recognise the vehicle, you have a legal obligation to respond within 28 days.
  2. Not exercising reasonable diligence to identify the driver if you genuinely do not know who was driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. This includes taking steps like checking schedules with employees who use the vehicle, looking at diaries/calendars to jog your memory of who was driving that day, etc.
  3. Providing an inaccurate or false driver nomination on the request for driver information form. This could lead to additional charges like perverting the course of justice.
  4. Failing to respond to the notice within 28 days because you were away, did not check your mail, or did not update your address. These typically do not provide a legal defence, so a lack of response would still constitute an offence.

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.

What is a Notice of Intended Prosecution?

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.

When will a Notice of Intended Prosecution be sent to me?

A notice of intended prosecution can be issued for several motoring road traffic offences, such as:

  1. Speeding.
  2. Driving without insurance.
  3. Failing to comply with a traffic signal.
  4. Using a mobile phone whilst driving.
  5. Driving without due care and attention.
  6. Dangerous driving.

Does The Notice Have To Be In Writing?

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:

  1. The person must have been warned at the time of the offence about the possibility of prosecution

OR;

  1. The registered keeper must have been sent a notice, notifying them of the possibility of prosecution, within 14 days of the offence OR;
  2. The person must have been served with a court summons within 14 days of the original 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.

Who Will The Notice Be Sent To?

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).

Is There A Deadline For The Police To Send The Notice To Me?

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:

  1. You were stopped at the roadside and identified as the driver.
  2. You were nominated as the driver of company vehicle and/or are the driver of the vehicle but are not the registered keeper, which might complicate the process to provide information about the identity of the driver.
  3. You failed to update your address for the relevant vehicle with the DVLA.

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.

How Long Do I Have To Respond To The Notice?

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.

What Happens If I Do Not Respond To The Notice?

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:

  1. A fine (a maximum of £1,000) and
  2. An order to pay prosecution costs and a victim surcharge (40% of the fine) and
  3. 6 penalty points.

What Are The Defences To Failing To Provide Drivers Information?

You may be able to defend such a charge on one of the below grounds:

  1. I did not know who the driver was and I did all that I reasonably could to identify the driver.
  2. I did not receive the request for driver’s information.
  3. I responded to the notice.
  4. I responded to the notice as soon as reasonably practicable.

I Do Not Know Who The Driver Of The Vehicle Was – What Do I Do?

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.

I Did Not Receive The Request For Drivers’ Information – What Can I Do?

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:

  1. Postal disruptions, causing a delay in providing the identity of the driver.
  2. Postal difficulties in your area may result in failing to provide driver details.
  3. Access difficulties with your address.
  4. Post delivered to the incorrect address.
  5. Mail theft.

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.

What Happens After I Complete The Driver Information Request

If you have filled out and returned the driver information request form, here’s what to expect next:

You May Receive a Penalty Notice

  • If you named yourself as the driver, you may get a fixed penalty notice in the mail in the next few weeks.
  • Or for more serious offences, you could be summoned to court within 6 months.
  • There’s no deadline for police to send the penalty notice – it may take some time.

You Could Be Charged Despite Responding

  • If you get charged with failing to provide driver information even though you did respond, you can defend yourself in court.
  • Provide evidence you returned the form like proof of postage or witness statements.
  • Explain in court that you complied as required by submitting the completed form.

Keep Post Response Evidence to avoid being alleged to have committed the act of failing to provide information.

  • Always keep records showing you sent back the driver information request.
  • Proof of postage or witness statements help evidence you responded appropriately.

Responding to Request After 28 Days

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:

  • You were away on holiday
  • You were ill and not home
  • Could not access the property for a period

Reasonable Excuse Can Work

If your excuse is considered reasonable, you may avoid conviction for late response under this defence.

Wondering If You Can Request Photographic Evidence?

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.

What If There Isn’t Any Photographic Proof?

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.

Can I Still Put Up a Defense After Naming Myself as the Driver? 

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.

Conclusion

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.

How Can We Help?

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.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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