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now the law

14th May 1971, Page 61
14th May 1971
Page 61
Page 61, 14th May 1971 — now the law
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Les Oldridge AMIE, AMINI1

Wien date of birth must be disclosed

ICE June 1, 1970, a police constable has it able , when he requires production of a ling licence, additionally to require the 'er to state his date of birth. One would gine that this requirement may be very ,opular with the ladies but it will be fise for them to refuse to disclose their of birth as such refusal is an offence inst Section 22 of the Vehicle and ving Licence Act 1969 and carries a dmum penalty of a £.50 fine.

his power of the police applies in almost ry case. Regulation 24 of the Motor [idles (Driving Licence) Regulations 0 sets out the circumstances where a ,er must reveal his date of birth when ed for his driving licence in the following

when the driver fails to produce his ring licence (presumably when he elects woduce it at a police station within five s); when he produces a driving licence ed by a local authority or which the cc constable has reason to suspect was granted to the driver or was granted to in error or where the licence contains Alteration with intent to deceive.

ks most driving licences are •issued local authorities the right for a ceman to inquire the date of birth ends to almost every case. This uirement is probably connected with the 'ending issue of licences by a central cc, instead of by local authorities, and the computer which will be used. One see the need for this as although there y be many people with the same name -e is unlikely to be many with the same ne and the same date of birth.

-....'ourts, since February I, 1970, have n required to notify licensing authorities he sex and date of birth of drivers whose nce they endorse. Consequently, they are m the power to order the defendants to e in writing their sex and date of birth if se details are not already known. With present trend towards unisex this power y sometimes be needed but it must also remembered that a defendant may not be sent in court when the case is heard.

!option certificate When a defendant has stated his date of th in court the Department of vironment can require him to produce lence to verify that date of birth and are he has changed his name, his name at time of his birth. Wilkinson points out in ad Traffic Offences that an adopted son usually knows only his name at the e of adoption and he cannot find out his ne at birth without a court order. It is

suggested that the DoE would be content in these circumstances with the production of the adoption certificate.

The police, in certain circumstances, can also require the owner of a motor vehicle to disclose who was driving his vehicle at a particular time and it is an offence, punishable with a £50 fine, to withhold such information. Section 232 (ii) of the Road Traffic Act, 1960, as amended, and Section 65 a the Road Traffic Regulation Act, 1967, deal with this subject.

Where a driver is alleged to be guilty of almost any offence the person keeping the vehicle must give such information as to the identity of the driver as he may be required to give by or on behalf of a chief officer of police. It would appear that a constable cannot use this power on his own initiative, he must be authorized by his chief constable. It is a defence for any person charged with an offence against this section to prove to the court that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have found out who the driver was.

Any person, as well as the owner of the vehicle, is also required, under like circumstances, to give information which it is in his power to give whia may lead to the identification of the driver. As this part of ' the section refers to "any other person" besides the owner, this includes the driver himself and any witnesses.

Personal obligation The power to require information as to the identity of the driver extends in the case of offences in local authority parking places to the local authority, provided the request is made in writing.

The obligation imposed by Section 232 on an owner is a personal one and cannot be discharged by some other person, such as a solicitor giving information on his behalf (Hodgson v Burn (1966) Cr(na L. R. 226).

Normally, I cannot see this Section causing any difficulty to the well-organized fleet operator, who will be only too willing to co-operate with the police in their efforts to trace an offending driver. The firms who hire out vehicles, without drivers, on a day-to-day basis could, I suppose, find difficulty in naming the driver of one of their vehicles at any particular time. It is true that they may have the defence that they could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver was but I wonder if the courts would accept this defence if no efforts were made, in the ordinary course of business, to keep records of the customers who hired the vehicles.


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