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 talk to the police and they, smelling alcohol, required him to take a blood test which he refused to do.
Held: No specimen of breath could be required if the suspicion did not arise when the person was driving or attempting to drive even though an extended meaning was given to that expression.
Lord Morris said: ‘In my view, the words ‘person driving’ in . . at least cover and include someone who has been driving but who has temporarily interrupted his driving and is about to resume driving.’ and ‘Thus, if someone intended to park his car in the road outside his home he might drive to a place outside his house and there stop; just before and at that very instant he would be a ‘person driving’ and in general terms he could be described as ‘the driver’. But if, having finished his journey, he stopped his engine and locked his car and went inside his home, he would then have ceased to be a ‘person driving’ although in general terms someone might still describe him as ‘the driver’. Questions of fact and of degree may well arise.’
Lord Reid said:’ In determining the meaning of any word or phrase in a statute the first question to ask always is what is the natural or ordinary meaning of that word or phrase in its context in the statute? It is only when that meaning leads to some result which cannot reasonably be supposed to have been the intention of the legislature, that it is proper to look for some other possible meaning of the word or phrase. We have been warned again and again that it is wrong and dangerous to proceed by substituting some other words for the words of the statute.’
and ‘It asks me to choose between two phrases ‘actually driving’ and ‘the driver, neither of which is to be found in the Act. It is in effect substituting ‘the driver’ for the statutory words ‘person driving or attempting to drive’. The two are not the same. A person can often be properly called the driver although for quite a long time he has neither been driving nor attempting to drive.’
Lord Reid, Lord Morris
 1 WLR 1266,  3 All ER 257, (1969) 64 Cr App R 160
Road Traffic Act 1968
England and Wales
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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Litigation Practice, Road Traffic
Updated: 27 January 2022; Ref: scu.184319