Road Traffic Law
Road traffic law can be anything from using a mobile phone whilst driving to speeding, right through to dangerous driving.
Areas of Road Traffic Law
Speeding is a common area that covers an array of situations depending on where you were alleged to have been speeding. Speeding on a motorway is different from exceeding a 30mph speed limit. For example, Section 81(1) provides the offense for exceeding 30mph along with section 89(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.
Speeding is a ‘strict liability’ offense, meaning that even if you did not mean to speed, you are still guilty at law of the offense. But, evidence of your non-intention may be used towards any mitigation. However, it is important before any prosecution is brought for the police to establish that you were the driver at the time of the offense. You will receive a notice from the police requesting information as to the ID of the driver.
Comply with Road Traffic Law
If you fail to comply with this request, you will commit the offence of; failing to give information as to the ID of the driver, under section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1984, which carries with it, 6 penalty point and a fine. There is a defence to this under the section 172(4) where you did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was.
Once the police have established that you were the driver and where the road is a restricted road with a speed limit, it then needs to be proved ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ that you were exceeding the speed limit. This is usually done via one of three ways:
1) Opinion based on the naked eye, provided there is some corroboration from a second witness or machine i.e. speedometer.
2) Hand-held detector or portable device that is properly calibrated, operated in accordance with the instructions and approved by the Secretary of State.
3) A permanent camera such as a ‘Gatso’, which is properly calibrated, approved by the Secretary of state functioning correctly.
Should you have any road traffic matters then please feel free to contact us and arrange a free consultation.
David has an LL.B (Hons) degree in law. He was voted one of the UK’s most influential aspiring lawyers. He also was directly involved in the protection of workers’ rights as a respected Union Rep for Usdaw, and was the Non-Executive Legal Director for the Humber Taxi Association.
Frequently Asked Questions
I was running late is that a defence?
None of the following can be used as a defence against a speeding charge, even if you felt that you were justified in speeding at the time.
- The speed trap was hidden.
- You were running late.
- The car behind was too close.
Although none of these arguments will be considered a valid defence, one or more of them could be considered as part of a plea in mitigation.
What is mitigation?
A “plea in mitigation” is to persuade the court to impose upon the defendant the most lenient sentence that it could reasonably be expected to give for that offence. It gives the Defendant, once pleaded guilty for example, the opportunity to give an explanation for the offence which should be taken into consideration by the court and could result in a lighter sentence or the courts not imposing a disqualification from driving.
The following are possible grounds for mitigation:
- Exceptional hardship,
- Serious emergency – if the emergency is not enough to get an acquittal then it could amount to grounds for mitigation.
Other circumstances could also be valid to each individual case.
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