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Colleague stopped for no Insurance; 6 points Pending


comebackjimmy
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Hello all

 

A driver who works for our business as a contractor borrowed one of our vans to tow a boat.  He was stopped and found to have no insurance cover for the vehicle which was impounded by the police.  (We later recovered the vehicle and load).

 

This was one of a number of vans we have but the insurance cover on it was limited to one individual rather than an any driver company policy.

 

The driver did not know that and was caught out because the vehicle was only insured for one person and our driver had no personal insurance for another car that would allow him to drive any other vehicle with permission.

 

He does have permission to drive any of our vehicles. He picked this one to drive (because it had a tow bar) assuming he would be covered.

 

He has now had a conditional offer of a fixed penalty of 6 points and £300.

 

Obviously anybody would want to avoid that but in this case he is a professional HGV driver and it will not help his future insurance payments to accept this penalty.

 

Does anybody think it is worth going to court and pleading the case with the magistrates?  Our business could provide a written statement as to the background of our insurances for vehicles and indeed attend court as a witness on his behalf.

 

Alternatively is it worthwhile writing back to the police with this explanation or will it have to go to the prosecution service before that step is taken?

 

Or is it best to just suck it up?

 

Any opinions precedents or comments appreciated.

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Yes.

 

The driver went to my colleague to ask to use it and was given the keys.   The subject of insurance never came up.  My colleague assumed the driver had personal insurance but it turned out he had not.

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Under Road Traffic Acts law, it is the responsibility of the driver to make sure a vehicle is insured before they drive it on a public road.

 

No point going to court.  They will say the law is the law.

 

The fortunate thing is that there was not a serious accident. Had the driver been involved in accident for which they were found liable, the financial consequences could have been huge.  If a driver does not have Insurance, a third party would no doubt be suing them for the amount of loss. There have been serious accidents with losses running into tens of thousands and rare accidents exceeding a million.  And the driver in this situation might be suing the company who lent the van, if they had any basis for doing so.

 

6 points and £300 fine is a good result. Driver should take it and get a letter from the business who lent the van,  about the complicated issues regarding Insurance and that it was a genuine mistake.  The driver can then provide this to any employers they are doing HGV driving for.

 

 

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Yes, No Insurance is a "strict liability" offence. That is, you either have it or you haven't. The question of intent is not relevant.

 

There is a statutory defence to the charge which says this:

 

(3)A person charged with using a motor vehicle in contravention of this section shall not be convicted if he proves—

 

(a)that the vehicle did not belong to him and was not in his possession under a contract of hiring or of loan,

 

(b)that he was using the vehicle in the course of his employment, and

 

(c)that he neither knew nor had reason to believe that there was not in force in relation to the vehicle such a policy of insurance as is mentioned in subsection (1) above.

 

Of course this does not fit the bill as the vehicle was not being used in the course of his employment. Magistrates do have the discretion to listen to an argument that there are "Special Reasons Not to Endorse" (SRNTE) the defendant's licence. If they accept this argument they do not have to endorse the licence and impose points. However, I would rate the chances of success as quite low. There may be some merit in such an argument if the driver is insured to drive all your other vehicles and had no reason to believe he was not covered to drive this particular one. But it is complicated by the fact that it was not being used for work purposes (in fact if it was he would have a strong defence as I outlined above). Of course there is the possibility that even if he was insured for this particular vehicle for work purposes he may not be covered for private use. So before embarking on a SRNTE argument that would have to be clarified. To strengthen his argument he would be well advised to produce proof that he was covered to drive all your other vehicles and if he wasn't covered for non-work purposes the argument is a complete non-starter.

 

To make his Special Reasons argument he would have to decline the Fixed Penalty offer and take the matter to court. There he would plead guilty but then present his argument. The downside to that is that if he is unsuccessful it will almost certainly cost him more than £300. He will pay a fine of a week's net income (although a kindly court may reduce that a little in the circumstances), a Victim Surcharge of 10% of the fine (minimum £34) and £85 costs. Although the court has the discretion to award between six and eight points (or even impose a disqualification) I would still expect to see the minimum of six imposed.

 

So he would be basically gambling the difference between £300 and the sum which arises from the above calculation against the possibility of avoiding an endorsement.

Edited by Man in the middle
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Thankyou Uncle bulgaria and Man in the middle for your responses.

 

What you say is very much what I expected.  I was hoping for some sort of mitigating position but not really expecting it.

 

I will run it past our driver as it is very much up to him.

 

Grateful for your input.

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