Speeding fines and test drives

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There is a defence under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Author: Nona Bowkis
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This article is 5 years old.

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We have had a number of clients who have found themselves on the wrong side of speeding tickets and the like following a test drive by a customer and/or a test run by one of their own staff.  

For those who don’t pay the fine on the basis they were not driving at the time, there is the likelihood that they will then find themselves charged with the offence of failing to identify the driver (by either not informing the police who was driving at the time of the offence or failing to return the paperwork in time). This separate offence can bring a large fine of around £1000 plus 6 points.   

There is a defence under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 if the person/company who was the registered keeper (and therefore received the fine) can show that they did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver was.

In some cases, our clients have been able to successfully argue that they normally keep good records of vehicles going in and out but on the particular occasion in question they cannot provide the name as their records do not show that the vehicle was out and so it could have been any one of a number of people. Whilst this has worked for some in front of a magistrate, for others it hasn’t and so the best advice is to ensure you keep full records of when a vehicle is off your premises and so you will be able to name the driver.

We would suggest that as a minimum your staff have a sheet on which they sign the vehicles in and out (noting the time) and for customers on test drives, you take full details and get them to sign to say they accept liability for any fines (and for that matter any damage).

If you do not have any formal paperwork, we would recommend our Test Drive Agreement Pads which will ensure you not only collate all the necessary information but cover you in terms of passing on any unexpected costs and losses to the customer.

Nona Bowkis

Legal Advisor

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