In this month’s edition we look at requests for driver information under s.172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

Most professional drivers will have received at least one of these requests from the police in the past, yet very few understand their legal obligations and what information they are lawfully required to provide. Often the letters sent by the police are confusing and much of the advice found online is misleading and can (and often does) end up with the driver getting into far more trouble.

Yet the consequences for failing to provide driver informa- tion are serious - failure to respond to the request in the correct manner can lead to prosecution for failing to provide driver information, an offence which carries six points and a £1,000 fine. Or worse still, if the police believe a response to be deliberately misleading you can find yourself being prosecuted for perverting the course of justice, an offence which nearly always carries an immediate prison sentence.

Below we will examine the requests themselves and what you need to do if you receive one, but we strongly recom- mend seeking specialist legal advice if you do. If you need any advice please email: or call us on 01626 359800 for free initial advice.


Where an ‘undetected’ offence is committed (for example speeding when the driver was not stopped, cases of hit and run or driving through a red traffic light) the police will send a request usually to the registered keeper first, asking them to nominate who was driving at the time of the alleged offence. Hundreds of thousands are sent to drivers each and every year and most of us will receive one at some point dur- ing our driving lives.

The request is a legal form sent under s.172 RTA and requires a response. It must not be ignored.

It is important to note that a request for information can be sent to anybody. It does not necessarily have to go to the registered keeper first. Even if the person to whom it is addressed has no knowledge of the vehicle or who was driving it, it still requires a response.

It is also important to note that there is no time limit within which the police must send these out. Requests for information are often confused with Notices of Intended Prosecution, which must be served within 14 days. Requests for informa- tion do not have to be sent within 14 days. If one is sent outside of 14 days the person to whom it is addressed must still respond to it.


If you know who was driving then you must nominate that person within 28 days. Failure to do so may see you ending up in court prosecuted for failing to provide driver information.

But there are some points to note: • The response must be signed. It is not a valid response without a signature (Francis v DPP [2004] EWHC 591).

• The response must be in the manner prescribed by the form. Responding via a telephone call is not a valid response (DPP v Broomfield [2002] EWHC 1962).

• You cannot pass the request for information to the driver and ask them to respond (Duff v DPP [2009] EWHC 675). The person to whom the notice is addressed must respond nominating the driver, and the driver will then receive their own request in their own name. Even if another person has nominated you as the driver, you must still respond to the request when you receive one in your own name.

Once you have completed the form it must be sent back to the police (the address will be on the form). Although not a legal requirement to do so, we always recommend keeping a copy and getting proof of postage. If the police do not receive your response they may accuse you of failing to provide information and again, you may end up in court.

Do not guess if you are not sure. If you provide a false nomination, whether deliberate or not, the police may accuse you of perverting the course of justice which is altogether more serious and if successfully prosecuted at court, almost always carries an immediate prison sentence.


This is where things start to get a little bit complicated. The law draws a distinction between the “keeper” and “any other person”.

1) The keeper of the vehicle isn’t always the registered keeper, but the person who has day to day use of the car (Mohindra v DPP [2004] EWHC 490). The keeper is required to nominate the driver (s.172(2)(a)) and if they do not then they must prove, on the balance of probabilities that they did not know who was driving and have exer- cised reasonable diligence to try to find out (s.172(4)). This means that, within 28 days of receiving the request the keeper must take all reasonable steps to try to work out who was driving. This may include requesting photographs (although the police are not legally obliged to provide them), speaking with all potential drivers, checking diaries to see who was where on the day the offence was committed or perhaps checking bank state- ments (to see if the vehicle was refuelled on said journey).


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