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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My car was photographed going through a speed camera at 42mph

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My car was photographed going through a speed camera at 42mph in a 30mph speed limit, I'm not sure who was driving as the notice of intended prosecution from the police didn't arrive until approximately a month after the offence and none of my family or myself can remember. It could have been anyone of 5 drivers including myself.
The vehicle is registered to me personally but is insured on a business fleet insurance. I do not keep a log of who is driving the vehicle as generally it is a member of my family. If I reply and say that I don't know who was driving the vehicle will I end up with a larger fine than if I take the fixed penalty myself ? Also, would I be breaking the law by saying I was driving, when I'm really not sure who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence ?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What steps have you taken to identify the driver?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,

I have asked my immediate family, who were the only ones, other than me who would have driven the car.

It could only have been one of my family who was driving the car, or, as I said it could have been me. I do not recall driving it at the time of the offence and nor do any of my family, when I have asked them.

To be honest I have a job to remember what I did last week, let alone a month ago !



Section 172 of the Road traffic act reverses the onus onto you. It does not ask whether you know offhand who was driving. Of course you do not. It does, however, place an obligation upon you to investigate the issue using reasonable diligence and to identify the driver.
With personal vehicles that are usually fairly easy to do is because we can all say with reasonable efforts who was driving our own personal car on any particular day.
“Reasonable diligence" has been considered is by the higher courts and it means doing things like checking your diary, retracing the journey etc.
If you genuinely cannot do so then it is a defence to say that you had used reasonable diligence and cannot say. Sometimes haulage companies are in that position.
Generally speaking, “reasonable diligence" at the magistrates court means doing everything humanly possible. Any imperfection or failing will be used as an excuse to convict you.
Also, you should remember that the law reverses the burden of proof on to you to show, on the balance of probability, that you have used reasonable diligence.
The reversal of the burden of proof has been considered at Europe and has been held the within reasonable limits.
Moreover, if you really cannot identify the driver then you must not guess. That is potentially perverting the course of justice and people go to prison for that.
If you can't identify the driver then you need to use a particular response to bring yourself within the caselaw. You must staple the letter that you write to the nip. Do not use a paperclip. If you do they may seize on that and use it to convict you as they will differentiate it from the leading case. On that letter write the words
“The driver of this vehicle was either
A (name and address)
B (name address)
Obviously, you can only name the 2 genuine candidates.
The case of DPP v Jones says that if you respond in this way it is for the police to investigate which of the 2 candidates are responsible and it gives you a defence to failing to identify.
This case is relatively little-known and if you respond in this way they could charge you with failing to identify. You may have to go to court and argue the point. They will send you some quite intimidating letters. Overall though, if you respond in this way you bring yourself within the caselaw and have a much stronger chance.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
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