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Driving Offences

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to tackle drivers avoiding prosecution through being untraceable to an address. (141300)

Difficulties with drivers avoiding prosecution do not come primarily from their being untraceable to an address. In 97.5 per cent. of cases, it is possible to trace a vehicle from the database maintained by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The DVLA has firm measures in place to guard against the inclusion of false details. Of those it is not possible to trace, not all will be deliberately seeking to avoid detection.

Any problem is rather with the difficulty of identifying the person driving a vehicle at the time of an alleged offence. The Road Safety Act 2006 increases the penalty for a vehicle keeper’s failure to identify the driver to six penalty points.

The key to tackling offending driver behaviour is effective police enforcement, including targeting suspect vehicles, individuals and sites and the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition Technology to detect vehicles of interest.

The police can then take immediate action using the existing powers we have given them. These include the power to seize vehicles being driven antisocially, or without appropriate licence or insurance and the powers to arrest for any offence if necessary to confirm name and address or to prevent hindrance of a prosecution by the disappearance of the suspected offender.