S172 – How To Prove Reasonable Diligence

The Reasonable Diligence Defence

If a vehicle for which you are the registered keeper is caught / accused of a motoring offence, speeding etc, you will be sent a section 172 form and you are required to name the driver. It’s possible to avoid doing so if you can prove on the balance of probabilities that you used reasonable diligence to try to establish who was driving but were unable to do so.

The majority of Magistrates take this to mean ‘doing your best’ and does require you to cover several important points.

How To Use Reasonable Diligence

  1. If you can’t recall who was driving, ask for photographic evidence from the police. They don’t usually like to provide this before trial, but if you explain that you are struggling to identify who was driving, they will often oblige. The important thing is to ask and to have your request for the information registered as such.
  2. You will need a list of potential drivers and each of them needs to be insured for the vehicle… otherwise you will face additional charges of allowing someone to drive uninsured which carries 6 points on your licence.
  3. Make sure you check with all possible drivers before nominating them. You don’t want to weaken your defence with contradictory stories at a later date.
  4. Check diaries & work commitments for any information that might help you to identify the driver.
  5. Review the route and a map especially if it was a long journey as this may help if several drivers shared the driving on the trip.
  6. Don’t make up or invent drivers in an attempt to deceive the police. The days of your ‘friend from overseas’ being the driver, but now he’s moved and you can’t contact him are long gone.

If you cover all these points and present them with conviction then you can demonstrate that you have used reasonable diligence but were unable to establish who was driving at the time and you cannot be found guilty of the offence.