Failure to nominate a driver
Where the driver of a vehicle is alleged to be guilty of certain offences – including speeding and the most common other motoring offences – the registered keeper of the vehicle can be required to identitify who was driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence.
Take a look at this video of me explaining this in more detail.
If you are required to nominate a driver following an alleged motoring offence, you are likely to have received this notice by post.
A notice sent by first class post is considered by the courts to have been served on the second business day after posting – unless you are able to persuade the court that in fact it did not arrive.
There is no time limit for serving the notice – though prosecutions for most motoring offences must be commenced within six months of the alleged offence.
Where the Police serve such a notice but get no response, it is their usual practice to send a second notice by registered post or recorded delivery.
It is therefore often difficult to show that no notice was served.
The person served with the notice commits an offence if he or she fails to respond with the required information within 28 days.
Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act states: a person shall not be guilty of an offence...if he shows that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was.
It is for the defendant to prove to the court, on a balance of probabilities, that he or she has used reasonable diligence to discover the identity of the driver.
In the case of a privately owned vehicle, if you are the registered keeper then convincing the court that you cannot identify the driver may be more difficult than you imagine, as the pool of potential drivers of most private motor cars is very limited.
Every case is different and you may benefit from detailed advice about the steps you should take in your own circumstances.
The situation is different if the vehicle is owned by a company.
There is a requirement for companies to keep reasonable records of vehicle use. Where a company does not have a record enabling it to identify the driver of the vehicle, the company will have the burden of arguing that this was reasonable.
Whilst the company would face only a fine for this offence, the responsible director could also face prosecution and the imposition of penalty points on his or her licence.