Motoring Case May Result in Less Prosecutions
If a vehicle travels through a speed camera above the legal limit, the next step in the process is that the Police issue the Registered Keeper of the Vehicle with a Notice of Intended Prosecution which requires that person (either a company or an individual depending on who owns the vehicle) to name the driver. If this is done and the driver is identified, then that driver may be offered a speed awareness course, or a fixed penalty or in the worst case be prosecuted at Court. The requirement to provide this information is under section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988 and the notice received is often referred to a section 172 notice.
However, there are many occasions when the recipient of the notice is unable to provide the necessary information as to the identity of the driver. The recipient even though they may not have been the driver themselves could face prosecution for failing to provide the identity of the driver and have 6 penalty points endorsed upon their licence.
For a summary only offence which most motoring offences are, the prosecution have to lay the information before the court within 6 months of the date of the offence. A recent Scottish case has cast doubt on the approach to these prosecutions and the legality of many prosecutions brought by some police forces may now be called into question. It should be stressed at this point that until the same issue is heard by an English court the judgement in the Scottish case is merely of persuasive value, although it is noted that it was persuasive enough for Greater Manchester Police to withdraw 300 cases that may have been out of time as a result of the ruling.
The ruling in the Scottish case was that the 6 month time limit for bringing a prosecution applied only when the initial offence of failing to provide the information took place ie at the end of the 28 days that the recipient of the notice had in order to provide the information. Many police forces incorrectly believed that they could prosecute within 6 months of any request for the information ie they could keep sending out further notices to the same recipient effectively rendering the time limit as meaningless.
What does this mean for motorists? Well if you have received a summons or charge for failing to provide information as to the identity of a driver (or ever in the future find yourself in that position) you should seek immediate legal advice as to whether the proceedings have been commenced within time. Common scenarios in which this problem can arise are where there is a company vehicle with different employees permitted to drive it or families in which more than one person may have driven the vehicle (eg husband, wife, teenage children etc) and due to the passage of time the Registered Keeper is unable to name the driver at the time of the incident.
It is not clear whether all police forces will follow the example of Greater Manchester Police and so other forces may still seek to commence proceedings outside of the 6 month time limit in which case the Defendant would have a strong legal argument to suggest that the proceedings are time barred.
Should you require any advice in respect of an allegation of speeding or failing to provide information as to the identity of the driver or indeed any motoring law issue please do not hesitate to contact Daven Naghen or Anita Toal on 01775 722261 or by email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Insurance Law for Motor Vehicles now in force
It has long since been an offence to use a motor vehicle on a road or public place with no third party insurance in force. In this situation drivers can expect to receive a minimum of 6 penalty points upon their licence and could be disqualified from driving for the offence all of which in addition to a fine.
The Continuous Insurance Enforcement Scheme is now in force and it is now an offence to be the Registered Keeper of a vehicle which is not insured. Think that this will not affect you, then read on.
Whilst the ultimate objective is to prevent people driving without insurance and it is clearly easier to enforce as there is no need to catch the driver in the act of driving, a number of people could still fall foul of this provision.
Own a motorbike or classic car which you only use in summer and you must now either be insured all year round or make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) for the period that it is off the road.
Similarly if you own a car that you are repairing or modifying you cannot just cancel the insurance for the period that it would be off the road without making a SORN.
Who else could suffer? A divorcing couple for example where one party is the registered keeper but the other party is the one who uses the car in this instance the registered keeper may not even know that the insurance has not been kept in force.
Fortunately the penalties do not include penalty points but could include a fixed penalty fine, having the vehicle clamped, impounded or destroyed and possible court appearance and fine.
Registered keepers should however be aware that there is an offence of permitting the use of a vehicle with no insurance which carries the same penalties as the use of vehicle with no insurance including the imposition of penalty points or disqualification.
Should you be charged or summonsed with an offence involving no insurance and require representation or advice please contact Daven Naghen email@example.com or Anita Toal firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the office on 01775 722261.
If you have been hit by an uninsured driver you may still be able to claim compensation through the Motor Insurers Bureau. If you require any assistance in this regard please contact Daven Naghen email@example.com or ring the office on 01775 722261.