Guide to Failing to Provide Details

The Offence

If you own or drive a vehicle said to have committed a motoring offence then under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 the police can request details of who was driving the vehicle on a given day and time.

The most common time for a request is with a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) for a speeding offence (usually caught on camera). The Notice of Intended Prosecution must be received within 14 days of the offence, issued to the registered keeper of the vehicle. Where a Driver Identity Questionnaire is attached there is an immediate duty to name the driver within 28 days, failing which you can be prosecuted.

Where a company owns the vehicle the company directors or company secretary may be prosecuted if the driver details are requested from the company and are not provided within the prescribed time.

Where a driver is identified they may receive a further questionnaire.  It does not matter that this is outside of the initial 14 day requirement if they were not the registered keeper.

Do I need an NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) for failing to provide driver details?

No, there is no requirement for an NIP for failing to provide details.

Punishment

Fine up to £1000 and 6 penalty points

Alternate charge

Where an individual deliberately withholds or provides misleading information the police can prosecute for 'Perverting the Course of Justice' instead, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Defences

You need to show you did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver was. Alternatively, where you are not the registered keeper it is a defence to show that the required information was not in your power to give or that it was not reasonably practicable to give it. There is no duty on the police to caution a driver before requesting driver details, so it is not a defence to state that no caution was given.

Once you are asked to name the driver you need to act promptly. A notice should never be ignored or false information supplied. You are advised to obtain sound legal advice so that you are aware of your options. Contact our team of specialist motoring lawyers for sound legal advice on your obligations.

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