A summons for a road traffic offence will generally contain the allegation that the accused either used, caused, permitted or, more rarely, aided and abetted the use of a vehicle in an illegal way. If a summons is issued it should always be checked to ensure the wording corresponds with the facts of the case and that the defendant has been correctly identified.
Some areas of legislation impose ‘absolute’ or ‘strict’ liability for the breach of various rules. This means liability can arise without fault. Therefore, it is often irrelevant whether the accused intended to commit the offence or was negligent. It is often sufficient for the evidence to show that the prohibited act or omission had occurred.
Commonly encountered examples of strict liability offences include speeding, overloading and the minimum legal requirements for insurance. However, other offences, such as careless and dangerous driving, are more complex when determining guilt.
Information on the topics below is available to FTA members by clicking on any available links or by downloading the Prosecutions and court procedures chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law
If you are an FTA member and have a query regarding this topic, or need more information, contact our Member Advice Centre
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