Section 172 – From a Company Perspective

Section 172 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 outlines the Duty to give information as to the identity of the driver in certain circumstances. This motoring offence is called ‘failure to name the driver of a vehicle’ or ‘failure to furnish information’. A Section 172 can be alleged again either an individual or a company/business.  

A business that generally has company cars for its employees or perhaps work vans, can receive a notice in relation to this charge if the company is listed as the registered owner on DVLA records. If a vehicle listed to the company is found to be associated with a road traffic offence, the business will receive a letter requesting driver details. If the company fails to respond to the letter providing driver information, they will be summoned to court so the matter can be resolved. 

If the company names the employee who was driving the vehicle at the time the offence was committed, the offence will be taken out of the employer’s name and they will receive no further correspondence in regards to the matter. The nominated employee will then be contacted by the prosecuting party and they will be subject to the penalty/sentencing for the offence. If the business is unable to / does not name the driver, they will not receive penalty points (as an individual would) but they will be subject to an extremely large fine, usually upwards of £1000.

If your company has received a letter requesting driver information but you are unsure who the driver was at the time, perhaps due to multiple members of staff using the same vehicle, you may be able to use this as a defence. For this to be potentially accepted by the court, the company must demonstrate they have used reasonable diligence to ascertain who was driving when the alleged offence took place. They must also exhibit that it was reasonable for the company to not have a detailed record of who has use of its vehicles and when. This may involve looking at the company record keeping to see if there has been an error, which has led to driver information being unobtainable. A company may also be able to use the defence that they did not receive the notice or responded to the notice late as per S.7(b) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 which states 

Except as otherwise expressly provided by any enactment and subject to subsection (2) below, a magistrates’ court shall not try an information or hear a complaint unless the information was laid, or the complaint made, within 6 months from the time when the offence was committed, or the matter of complaint arose

With this in mind it’s really important as a business to make sure you keep a clear record of all employees with use of company vehicles, and the dates/times in which they are used. 

If you own a company and have been sent a letter requesting driver details, or are an individual whose employer had nominated you as the driver of a company vehicle and need advice and/or assistance, call one of our motoring specialists on 0330 912 2124 for a free consultation.

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