Do you know what to do if you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution? Or what is a S172 notice is?
Unless you’re a solicitor specialising in road traffic law then the answer is probably ‘no’, and the reality is that unless you find yourself in one of the following situations then you probably don’t need to know either.
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However, if you do then there are some simple steps you can take to help keep your driving licence.
After all, we all make mistakes and while some of them could result in you losing your licence, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the outcome…
1. Observe all deadlines
If you have been caught speeding on camera you will be sent a ‘Notice of Intended Prosecution’, along with a S172 notice requesting details of the person driving your car. The first notices are sent to the registered keeper.
It is important that only the person to whom the notice is addressed to fills in the details and not the driver. You have 28 days in which to reply and you should send the reply by Royal Mail Signed For 1st Class (what used to be recorded delivery). Don’t forget to keep your receipt as proof you have complied within the statutory period.
The driver named in the first notice will then get a S172 notice to confirm they were driving and again this should be completed and sent back by recorded delivery.
Consequences: You must always reply within the 28-day period, because failure to do so carries a fine of up to £600 and six penalty points.
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2. Ask to take a speed awareness course
It’s all too easy to accidentally speed as it can be difficult to know what the prevailing speed limit is, especially when there are no signs.
However, if there is a series of lamp posts approximately 200 metres apart then the road is restricted to 30mph. All other roads with differing speeds must be signposted.
Consequences: Speeding carries three to six penalty points but speeds over 20mph above the speed limit may attract an immediate disqualification. If you are stopped for speeding, it is always worth asking if you can take a speed awareness course which avoids any points on your licence, but this is only possible if you are within 11mph of the speed limit.
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3. Ensure you renew your licence at 70
Your driving licence is automatically revoked at the age of 70 years. However you can apply for your licence to continue up to 90 days before your 70th Birthday, renewing it every three years thereafter.
Consequences: If you continue to drive after your licence has been revoked you will be driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and your insurance will be invalid. The penalty for no insurance is a Band C fine (150% of your weekly income) and six to eight penalty points.
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4. Keep your driving licence updated
If you move address you must remember to change your details on your driving licence and vehicle registration document, something many people forget to do.
Consequences: If you don’t change your details, all any penalty notices will be sent to your old address. You will know nothing about them and so will not respond. You will then be summonsed for the offence of speeding and failing to provide those details, but that too will be sent to your old address.
As you will not respond, the case will be proved in your absence and you could be fined £600 and your licence endorsed with six to eight penalty points, all of which will take place without your knowledge. If you find yourself in this situation you should seek legal advice.
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5. Report all accidents
If you are involved in an accident where damage or injury is caused you must stop at the scene and provide your details. Even if you stop but don’t provide your details, you will still be committing the offence of failing to stop.
If anyone is injured, there is also a duty to report the accident to the police as soon as reasonably practicable and, in any event, within 24 hours.
Even if it is just a bump and there is no injury, if there is any damage you should still comply with the obligations.
Consequences: The penalty for these offences is a maximum of six months imprisonment and a Band C fine (which is 150% of your weekly income) and five to 10 penalty points on your driving licence. Remember, if you get a total of 12 penalty points on your licence there is a mandatory disqualification period that starts at six months.
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6. Get your eyesight tested
You should always have your eyes tested regularly as it isn’t only dangerous to drive with poor vision, it is also an offence to drive with uncorrected eyesight.
Consequences: Aside from the very real possibility of an accident, the offence carries a fine and 3 penalty points. If your eyesight is very poor and presents danger you could be prosecuted for dangerous driving which carries a mandatory disqualification for a minimum of 12 months.
Defend Your Licence: Beat Road Traffic Offences by Andrea Clegg (published by Clink Street Publishing, RRP £9.99 paperback, £6.64 ebook) is available to purchase online and to order from all good bookstores.
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