Right against self-incrimination

A number of cases have dealt with this issue and, put simply, it doesn’t matter, the requirement to identify the driver does not affect your human rights. The court has said "those who choose to keep and drive a car can be taken to have accepted certain responsibilities" and those include the obligation to provide information upon request as to the driver.

What if I really don’t know who was driving?

If you genuinely do not know who was driving, you may have a defence to an allegation of failing to provide driver information. The defence is that you "could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was". You need, therefore, to make all reasonable enquiries to find out who the driver was, and you will still need to reply to the request, providing what assistance you can. Again, it is best to seek early legal advice as a recent case involving the former politician Lord Howard, has opened up a number of interesting legal arguments.

I did not receive the request and now I have been summonsed, what do I do?

You may have a defence to the allegation. Please contact us for further advice.

What if I provide false information?

It can be tempting to name a spouse, or even someone abroad, in the hope of avoiding penalty points. To do so would amount to perverting the course of justice – which almost always results in a prison sentence. So, don’t do it.


It is a defence to show that there was no record kept of the driver and that the failure to keep a record was reasonable. The notice can be served by sending it to a secretary or a clerk, at the registered or principal office. It may seem obvious, but a company cannot be given penalty points, so the penalty here would be a fine. In certain circumstances proceedings can also be brought against company directors, so a company cannot be used as a shield against prosecution for this offence. If your company operates a company car pool it would be wise to ensure that you have robust procedures in place in order to track vehicle usage.

Legal Aid

Public funding may be available for such a case, so please contact us for further information.

How we can assist

The law concerning requests for driver information can be complicated. This article is intended to give only a very brief overview of the issues involved. If you have any concerns or simply to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact Rob Barley on 01502 533020 or email r-barley@nortonpeskett.co.uk

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