Section 172 RTA request for vehicle owner offences

13 September 2021

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

Regarding section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988, is it only offences relating to the road traffic act that allow us to serve the request on the owner or other relevant person? Part C states "to any offence under any enactment relating to use of a vehicle on a road".

For example, if a vehicle was seen to be involved in a high value theft, and that vehicle used to transport the stolen items, could a request be served on the vehicle owner?

Answer:

Section 172(1)(c) states:

"This section applies -

(c) to any offence under any other enactment relating to the use of vehicles on roads… "

The provision was enacted to enable the police to send a notice under section 172 in the case of an offence being committed under another piece of legislation relating to the use of vehicles on roads – a good illustration of this is the offence of speeding. Most common speeding offences are contained in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 e.g. section 89, in the event of a motorist triggering a speed camera, s.172(1)(c) allows the police to send a notice to the registered keeper requiring information as to the identity of the driver of the vehicle.

Therefore, in our opinion, this provision would not apply to the circumstances in your email, as it doesn't relate to the 'use' of the vehicle on the road. We have also contacted the CPS Policy Unit and they confirm this. Nonetheless, we would emphasise that this is a matter that would ultimately have to be interpreted by a court.

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