Edkins v Knowles: QBD 1973

The motorist was driving at an excessive and dangerous speed. He was seen by detectives from a police motor car. They followed him but thought that he was driving far too fast and dangerously for them to overtake him. They followed him to a holiday camp, and when he stopped there they kept him in the driving seat until a uniformed police officer, who could administer a breath test-arrived.
When the uniformed officer arrived the man had been in the driving seat for fifteen minutes. On being invited by that officer to undergo a breath test he obliged, and it was found that he was excessively over the limit.
Held: He was no longer driving or attempting to drive, and the procedure came to a nullity.
When asked whether a driver has ceased driving on a driver stopping, the reason for stopping can be relevant. It may be the end of the journey (ie. parking in a car park) or an part and parcel of the journey such as stopping at a traffic light or pedestrian crossing).
Griffith J said:
‘Whether the motorist is driving at the relevant time is a question of fact to be determined by the justices, directing themselves to the same considerations as a judge would direct a jury in his summing up. Pinner v Everett . . . and other decisions provide guidance as to the considerations that are relevant in determining this question. The court has considered all these decisions and it is not necessary to lengthen this judgment by an elaborate citation of authority. While it is not possible to reconcile all the decisions one with another, the court is satisfied that their collective effect may be summarised as follows:
1. The vehicle does not have to be in motion; there will always be a brief interval of time after the vehicle has been brought to rest and before the motorist has completed those operations necessarily connected with driving, such as applying the handbrake, switching off the ignition and securing this vehicle, during which he must still be considered to be driving.
2. When a motorist stops before he has completed his journey he may still be driving; an obvious example is when he is halted at traffic lights. Each case will depend its own facts, but generally the following questions will be relevant: (a) What was the purpose of the stop? If it is connected with the driving, and not for some purpose unconnected with the driving, the facts may justify a finding that the driving is continuing although the vehicle is stationary. (b) How long was he stopped? The longer he is stopped the more difficult it becomes to regard him as still driving. (c) Did he get out of the vehicle? If he remains in the vehicle it is some though not a conclusive indication that he is still driving.
3. If a motorist is stopped by a constable in uniform who immediately forms the suspicion that the motorist has alcohol in his body, the motorist should be regarded as still driving at the moment when the suspicion is formed; but if an appreciable time elapses before the constable’s suspicion is aroused it will be a question of fact and degree whether the motorist is still to be considered as driving at that time.
4. When a motorist has arrived at the end of his journey, then subject to the brief interval referred to in 1 above he can no longer be regarded as driving.
5. When a motorist has been effectively prevented or persuaded from driving he can no longer be considered to be driving.’
Griffiths J
(1973) 57 Cr App R 751, [1973] 2 All ER 545, [1973] 1 QB 748, [1995] RTR 177
Road Safety Act 1967 2(1)
England and Wales
CitedPinner v Everett HL 1969
The House was asked whether or not a person was ‘driving or attempting to drive’ a motor vehicle when he had been stopped by the police in connection with the illumination of his rear number plate, and the driver got out of the car and started to . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 27 March 2021; Ref: scu.646829