This area of the law is governed by the rules set out in section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

If you are the registered keeper of the vehicle alleged to have committed a motoring offence but were not stopped by a police officer at the time of the alleged offence, then you should receive the Notice of Intended Prosecution within 14 days of the alleged offence.

Such notices require the registered keeper of a vehicle to assist in identifying who was driving a vehicle at the time an offence took place.

A driver who receives a section 172 notice has 28 days in which to respond to the notice.

Failure to comply with such a notice is an offence punishable by a fine of up to £1000 and the imposition of six penalty points on your licence. The courts also possess the power, exercised on a discretionary basis, to disqualify for an offence of this nature.

A ‘section 172 requirement’ can also be made by a police officer engaged in the investigation of a road traffic violation. Failure to comply with such a requirement attracts the same potential punishment as failing to comply with a written s172 notice.

This may seem peculiar given the widely known right of a suspect to remain silent to questions asked by police officers . However, this point of law has been authoritatively decided in the prosecution’s favour by the courts and the bottom line is that if you elect not to respond to a s172 requirement you will be guilty of an offence.

For registered keepers of vehicles it is a defence to a charge under section 172 to show that ‘reasonable diligence’ was used in attempting to ascertain who the driver was at the time in question.

You will not have a defence available to you if you do not receive a s172 requirement because you have moved address and your vehicle registration details held by the DVLA are not up to date.

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