Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver

– section 60 of the Road Safety Act 1986
duty of owner of motor vehicle to give information about driver

 

 

This offence is when someone who is the owner of a motor vehicle refuses to give the Police information about who was driving the vehicle.

Examples of Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver
  • A man lends his car to a friend who was involved in an accident and drove away. The Police ask the man for information about his friend but he refuses to provide the information.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver?
  • You don’t know who was driving your car at the time.
  • You gave the Police as much information as you had .

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did you lend your car to somebody?
  • Who was actually driving the car?
  • Is there time to tell the Police?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of 20 penalty units or imprisonment for a term of not more than 4 months, or both.

This sort of charge is heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

“Did you refuse to tell the Police who drove your car?”
What is the legal definition of Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver?

The Police must show that a police officer, while acting in the execution of their duty, requested information about the driver who was in possession of your motor vehicle and you failed to give the police officer the information requested.

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 60 of the Road Safety Act 1986.1

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

If found guilty, you will most likely get a fine, although there is a chance that you could also receive some time in prison depending on the seriousness of the accident.

Case Studies

[1] Road Safety Act 1986 – Section 60

(1) An owner of a motor vehicle, or a relevant nominated person in relation to a motor vehicle, is guilty of an offence if, when required to do so by a police officer who is acting in the execution of duty, the person fails to give any information which it is within the power of the person to give and which may lead to the identification of any person who was the driver of the motor vehicle on any occasion or had possession or control of the motor vehicle on any occasion or fails to make all reasonable enquiries in order to obtain that information.
(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1) a relevant nominated person means a person nominated in an effective known user statement (within the meaning of Part 6AA) or sold vehicle statement (within the meaning of that Part) as being the responsible person (within the meaning of that Part) in relation to a motor vehicle at the time when the motor vehicle was involved in an offence that is an operator onus offence for the purposes of that Part.
(1B) A police officer who is acting in the execution of duty may require any person whom the police officer believes on reasonable grounds to have had possession or control of a motor vehicle on a particular occasion to give any information which it is within the power of the person to give and which may lead to the identification of any person who was the driver of the motor vehicle on that occasion or had possession or control of the motor vehicle on that occasion.
(1C) A person who, without reasonable excuse, refuses or fails to comply with a requirement made under subsection (1B) is guilty of an offence.
(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(a) if the requirement is made by a police officer who is investigating an accident involving a motor vehicle that resulted in a person being killed or suffering serious injury—to a penalty of not more than 20 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 4 months or to both;
(b) in any other case—to a penalty of not more than 20 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 2 months or to both—
and on conviction the court must cancel all driver licences and learner permits held by that person and, whether or not that person holds a driver licence or learner permit, disqualify that person from obtaining a driver licence or learner permit for, in the case of a first offence, at least 2 years and, in the case of a subsequent offence, at least 4 years.
(3) For the purposes of this section “owner” means—
(a) the owner or the person in whose name the motor vehicle was registered at the time when the vehicle was being driven by the person about whom the information is sought or at the time when the requirement is made; or
(b) any person who had possession or control of the vehicle at either of those times; or
(c) if the motor vehicle displayed a number plate at either of those times—
(i) the person who, at the time at which the registration number borne by that number plate was last assigned by the Corporation or the corresponding body under a corresponding Act, was the person in whose name the motor vehicle, to which that registration number was assigned, was registered under this Act or a corresponding Act of the Commonwealth or of another State or Territory of the Commonwealth, whether or not that motor vehicle is the same as the motor vehicle about which information is sought; or
(ii) the person whose name is disclosed in the records kept by the Corporation or the corresponding body under a corresponding Act as being entitled, or last entitled, to use or possess that number plate at the time when the vehicle was being driven by the person about whom the information is sought or at the time when the requirement is made.
(4) A requirement under this section may be made orally or in writing.
(5) A written requirement may be sent by post addressed to the person to whom it is made at the person’s home address or at an authorised address (within the meaning of section 163A of the Infringements Act 2006 ).
(6) A written requirement sent by post to a person at an authorised address (within the meaning of section 163A of the Infringements Act 2006 ) and returned undelivered to its sender is deemed to be served 14 days after the date specified in the requirement as the date of the requirement, despite it being returned to its sender as undelivered.
(7) Subsection (6) has effect despite anything to the contrary in section 49(1) of the Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984.