When police request driver details.
Section 172 Road Traffic Act requirements - Some simple practical advice.
These notices are issued in huge numbers across the UK every week and yet they often cause difficulty.
What happens when the police say they never received it back and claim it can’t have been posted to them?
On the 10 October 2017 the High Court clarified this issue.
The Section 172 Notice procedure requires a written and signed response from the registered keeper giving details of the driver. That’s the easy part. If the police start proceedings saying it never arrived, it is for the keeper to show that the information was actually put into the post. It is not necessary to be able to explain why it never arrived. Prosecutors seem to think you have to do this but it’s not correct. How can you possibly know?
I have dealt with many cases where the police say the information never arrived and their default position is that the registered keeper could not have put it into the post in the first place. The police seem oblivious to the possibility that the envelope may have become lost either by the Royal Mail, or by them.
In these circumstances the registered keeper must provide some evidence to show the envelope was actually posted. This can be proof of posting from the Post Office, or a witness such as a family member saying that the envelope was put into the post.
The High Court dealt with a case where the registered keeper was employed by a university and he placed his envelope with all the office outgoing post. The police said they never got it. The court decided that he had not complied with his obligation under Section 172 because he was relying on his office to post the envelope but had no evidence they actually did. There were no office records showing what went into the post that afternoon.
Harsh, but that’s how it works.
Some simple rules - be careful, and do not rely on someone else to do the posting for you. Do it yourself and obtain proof of posting (it is not necessary to do recorded delivery). Tell someone in the house that you are off to the post box to post it, and keep back a copy of the completed and signed form.
If you do these things you will be in a very good position to defend a prosecution for failing to provide driver details.