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  • FIRST POST
    • geejayem
    • By geejayem 17th Apr 18, 11:56 AM
    • 20Posts
    • 3Thanks
    geejayem
    Should I pay or should I go(to court)?
    • #1
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:56 AM
    Should I pay or should I go(to court)? 17th Apr 18 at 11:56 AM
    A couple of weeks ago, I was driving home from Cheshire after enjoying a bank holiday weekend in Nantwich with some friends. I was travelling Northbound on the M6 with my young son in my father's Campervan.
    I noticed a police car following me but was not worried as I thought everything was in order and I'd not been speeding. You can imagine my surprise when the officer switched on his blues to pull me over.
    The officer asked me to sit in his car where he would explain to me why he'd pulled me over, to my horror, he informed me that my dad's vehicle was showing as having no insurance.
    I explained that I was convinced the van was insured as I'd checked with my father a few weeks previously before another trip.
    The police officer did some more checks and it was confirmed that the van was uninsured. He then allowed me to contact my father to try and get an explanation and to see if my dad could get the vehicle insured immediately. When I rang him, my father was equally shocked and after ringing his insurance company he discovered that his insurance had lapsed at the end of January this year.
    My father managed to get insurance there and then and the Police officer sent us on our way after issuing me with a traffic offence report.
    When I got home, my father explained to me that the reason he wasn't insured was that he had recently changed his current account from a bank to a building and he was under the impression that his Direct Debit for the Insurance would automatically be transferred over.
    My father had been insured with the Camping and Caravan club and his policy had been renewed automatically every year since 2008 but was discontinued when he'd switched accounts.
    As far as my dad was concerned, he'd had no notifications from his insurance company to inform him that his insurance had expired but after speaking to them, they informed him that he'd by notified via email.
    My dad checked through his emails and found that a renewal notification had indeed been sent but as it had gone straight to Junk, he'd missed it.

    I have since received a CONDITIONAL OFFER OF A FIXED PENALTY.
    For my 'sins', I'm looking at a fine of 300 and 6 penalty points.
    As a working single father, I cannot afford this fine nor the points on my licence, nor can I afford the inevitable increased insurance payments for my own vehicle.
    I thing this a harsh penalty for someone who believed everything was in order and wasn't driving a vehicle in the knowledge that it wasn't insured. My father has drafted a letter accepting full responsibility should I contest the allegation in court. My father's insurers have also made a note against his policy that will confirm that his policy had been renewed automatically every year for the last ten years.
    Should I fight this in court and risk further court costs or take it on the chin?
Page 3
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 17th Apr 18, 11:33 PM
    • 3,105 Posts
    • 1,936 Thanks
    Car 54
    I know a magistrate where they had someone hire a car and they were stopped - the hirer was dodgy. They did not convict as it was unreasonable (the bloke had a rental agreement suggesting it was insured). It was unreasonable to expect the hires to validate what they had been told in good faith. Not so absolute.
    Originally posted by IanMSpencer
    If they didn't convict, the question of points didn't arise.
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 18th Apr 18, 8:47 AM
    • 1,462 Posts
    • 1,081 Thanks
    IanMSpencer
    If they didn't convict, the question of points didn't arise.
    Originally posted by Car 54
    Quite. My point remains, people are caught without insurance and yet the courts do have leeway to deal with the situation without a compulsory 6 points and fine. The costs involved in a conviction are very high, and contrary to some suggestions it is not entirely hopeless.

    Get expert advice.
    • TooManyPoints
    • By TooManyPoints 18th Apr 18, 1:19 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 58 Thanks
    TooManyPoints
    ...the courts do have leeway to deal with the situation without a compulsory 6 points and fine
    .
    Le s see whether they would be likely to exercise some leeway here.
    Because according to the original post the OP took reasonable steps to ensure they were insured.
    Really? What steps were they then? All have seen is this:
    I explained that I was convinced the van was insured as I'd checked with my father a few weeks previously before another trip
    .
    Then this:
    As far as my dad was concerned, he'd had no notifications from his insurance company to inform him that his insurance had expired but after speaking to them, they informed him that he'd by notified via email.
    My dad checked through his emails and found that a renewal notification had indeed been sent but as it had gone straight to Junk, he'd missed it.
    We have also heard that the OP recoiled at the idea of asking his father to prove that the vehicle was covered (which is actually his obligation under the law). All this makes for a scarcely compelling case to accept a Special Reasons argument.

    The situation for the OP is quite simple. He can accept the fixed penalty or take the matter to court. If he does so he must plead guilty because No Insurance is a strict liability offence. He was driving without insurance and the only statutory exception concerns driving an employers vehicle. He must then argue Special Reasons; which, in my view, would be bound to fail. All he can tell the court is that he asked his father previously (possibly before the policy expired) whether he was covered. Since then the policy lapsed because his father changed his bank account and did not check his e-mails properly to see that all was in order with his regular payments. The simplest thing he could have done was to check AskMID (or at least ask his father to make the check if he was concerned about falling foul of Data Protection laws). Both of them would have seen immediately that the vehicle was not insured. Simply saying that he asked if the vehicle was insured some time earlier and was told it was simply will not cut the mustard for a Special Reasons argument.

    The cost of failure with his argument will be a fine two-thirds of a weeks net income, a surcharge of 10% of the fine (minimum 30), 85 costs and six points. So unless his income is lower than 280 per week he will be worse off. It is very unfortunate when these things happen and of course few people in the OP's circumstances check they are covered every time they take to the road. But the law is quite clear. If you are driving as a named driver on somebody elses policy you have just the same responsibility to ensure cover is in place before driving. When things go wrong in the way they have here you must be prepared for the consequences. Saying "it wasn't my fault" won't work.

    [Sorry, no apostrophes. The site returns an error when I insert them]
    Last edited by TooManyPoints; 18-04-2018 at 1:28 PM.
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