Atkinson v Director of Public Prosecutions: Admn 16 Dec 2011

The appellant’s motor scooter had been identified speeding. She replied to a notice to identify the driver by saying that she did not know. She now said that she had been selling it and that a potential buyer had taken it for a test drive, but that his identity was unknown.
Held: The appeal by case stated succeeded. The court was being asked whether the duty of due diligence under section 172 of the 1988 Act applied at the time of the driving or at the time when she replied to the notice. That must be answered from an examination of the statute. The section only created a duty at the time when the notice was sent. There was no general duty otherwise to know the identity of a driver of the vehicle.
‘If there is no duty to know who is driving, at the time of that driving, then there it becomes more difficult to identify the undertaking or task in respect of which to assess diligence. It is accepted there is no such duty, and it might be said that if Parliament had intended there to be one it would have been relatively easy to do so, and define a duty to provide information on request by reference to that duty. Conspicuously, Parliament did not do so.’

Langstaff , Kenneth Parker JJ
[2011] EWHC 3363 (Admin)
Road Traffic Act 1988 172(2)
England and Wales
CitedStott (Procurator Fiscal, Dunfermline) and Another v Brown PC 5-Dec-2000
The system under which the registered keeper of a vehicle was obliged to identify herself as the driver, and such admission was to be used subsequently as evidence against her on a charge of driving with excess alcohol, was not a breach of her right . .

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Road Traffic

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.450066