Question I have received a letter from the local Police advising me that I have been flashed by a traffic light camera. It was a weekend, and so my wife, son and daughter all drove the car, but none of them will admit to driving the car at the time of the incident. I know that I can be excluded, because I was at work, but how do I complete the form advising who was driving, when I cannot ascertain it? The car is registered to me, but all three of them are insured to drive with my permission. What should I do?
Answer As the registered keeper of the car, you are obliged to give such information as to the identity of the driver as the police may require you to give. I have advised in earlier issues on the formalities that the police have to comply with and as to how the notice is required to be served, so I will not repeat them here and will assume that the formalities were correctly applied in your case.
You will not be guilty of an offence of failing to provide the information if you show that you did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was. From what you have described, it is clear that you do not know who the driver of the car was at the time, so the question remains as to whether you could have discovered this with ‘reasonable diligence’. It might be thought that allowing your car to be driven by any member of the family without knowing who at the time actually drives it is acting without reasonable diligence, but the duty arises at the time the request for information is made, not at an earlier time such as the point at which the vehicle is driven.
You can expect a court to enquire closely into what efforts you made to find out from your family who was driving the car at the time, not just by questioning them, but perhaps by checking diaries, who was at work or out of town at the time, and so on. If you can satisfy the court that you did use reasonable diligence and have still been unable to ascertain who the driver was, then you should not be found guilty of the offence. I make reference to satisfying the court, but your objective should be to prevent legal proceedings being taken against you, so I recommend giving a full explanation in the form requesting the information, including the efforts you made to find out who was driving, in the hope that the police will drop the case.