25 March 2020
Enforcement of road traffic notices in these exceptional times
In these challenging times, Jonothan Moss, Principal Lawyer, specialising in traffic law would like to remind everyone that notices to identify drivers are still being sent out by the police. These are known as section 172 notices. These notices are the cornerstone of traffic enforcement in the UK for offences such as speeding.
It is worth remembering that a failure to identify the driver, can lead to a court hearing and a possible endorsement of 6 penalty points or even a driving disqualification. There is also likely to be a fairly heavy financial penalty if the form is not completed and sent back within time.
As these notices continue to arrive through peoples doors, it is critical not to simply put them to one side to deal with when the current pandemic has passed. Action must be taken. In the event that you are unwell and unable to complete and return the notice on health grounds, you should contact the police by phone and requested permission for an extension of the normal 28 day period to reply. You should keep full details of the time and date of any call with the police and the person you spoke to. It is off course within the discretion of the police to allow an extension of time to reply and in reality each case will depend on its own facts. In the event that the police refuse any extension of time and you are simply unable to respond on health grounds (and given the current lockdown scenario), then should you be summonsed at a later time to court for the offence of failure to provide driver information, then it may well be that with appropriate health evidence furnished to the prosecution at court, that there may be a strong argument that it is not in the interests of justice to continue with any prosecution. Again each case will be based on their own facts.
So in summary, do not ignore any such notices. Either return within the prescribed time limit or in exceptional cases, request an extension of time, but that may not be sufficient.
Should this be an issue that is relevant to you, please contact Jonothan Moss on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01753 278665.