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Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52)

(The document as of February, 2008)

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Road Traffic Act 1988

1988 CHAPTER 52

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Content
  1. Part I

    Principal Road Safety Provisions

    1. Driving offences

      1. 1. Causing death by reckless driving.

      2. 2. Reckless driving.

      3. 3. Careless, and inconsiderate, driving.

    2. Motor vehicles: drink and drugs

      1. 4. Driving, or being in charge, when under influence of drink or drugs.

      2. 5. Driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above prescribed limit.

      3. 6. Breath tests.

      4. 7. Provision of specimens for analysis.

      5. 8. Choice of specimens of breath.

      6. 9. Protection for hospital patients.

      7. 10. Detention of persons affected by alcohol or a drug.

      8. 11. Interpretation of sections 4 to 10.

    3. Motor racing and motoring events on public ways

      1. 12. Motor racing on public ways.

      2. 13. Regulation of motoring events on public ways.

    4. Protective measures: seat belts, helmets, etc.

      1. 14. Seat belts: adults.

      2. 15. Restriction on carrying children not wearing seat belts in motor vehicles.

      3. 16. Wearing of protective headgear.

      4. 17. Protective helmets for motor cyclists.

      5. 18. Authorisation of head-worn appliances for use on motor cycles.

    5. Stopping on verges, etc., or in dangerous positions, etc.

      1. 19. Prohibition of parking of HGVs on verges, central reservations and footways.

      2. 20. Definition of "heavy commercial vehicle" for the purposes of section 19.

      3. 21. Prohibition of driving or parking on cycle tracks.

      4. 22. Leaving vehicles in dangerous positions.

    6. Other restrictions in interests of safety

      1. 23. Restriction of carriage of persons on motor cycles.

      2. 24. Restriction of carriage of persons on bicycles.

      3. 25. Tampering with motor vehicles.

      4. 26. Holding or getting on to vehicle in order to be towed or carried.

      5. 27. Control of dogs on roads.

    7. Cycling offences and cycle racing

      1. 28. Reckless cycling.

      2. 37. Directions to pedestrians.

    8. Promotion of road safety

      1. 38. The Highway Code.

      2. 39. Powers of Secretary of State and local authorities as to giving road safety information and training.

      3. 40. Powers of Secretary of State to subsidise bodies other then local authorities for giving road safety information and training.

  2. Part II

    Construction and Use of Vehicles and Equipment

    1. General regulation of construction, use etc.

      1. 41. Regulation of construction, weight, equipment and use of vehicles.

      2. 42. Offence where regulations are contravened, etc.

      3. 43. Temporary exemption from application of regulations under section 41.

      4. 44. Authorisation of use on roads of special vehicles not complying with regulations under section 41.

    2. Tests of vehicles other than goods vehicles to which section 49 applies

      1. 45. Tests of satisfactory condition of vehicles.

      2. 46. Particular aspects of regulations under section 45.

      3. 47. Obligatory test certificates.

      4. 48. Supplementary provisions about test certificates.

    3. Tests of certain classes of goods vehicles

      1. 49. Tests of satisfactory condition of goods vehicles and determination of plated weights, etc.

      2. 50. Appeals against determinations.

      3. 51. Particular aspects of regulations under section 49.

      4. 52. Supplementary provisions about tests, etc., of goods vehicles.

      5. 53. Obligatory goods vehicle test certificates.

    4. Approval of design, construction, equipment and marking of vehicles

      1. 54. Type approval requirements.

      2. 55. Type approval certificates.

      3. 56. Conditions of, and cancellation or suspension of, type approval certificates.

      4. 57. Certificates of conformity.

      5. 58. Minister's approval certificates.

      6. 59. Supplementary provisions as to certificates of conformity and Minister's approval certificates.

      7. 60. Appeals.

      8. 61. Regulations for the purposes of sections 54 to 60.

      9. 62. Other supplementary provisions.

      10. 63. Obligatory type approval certificates, certificates of conformity and Minister's approval certificates.

      11. 64. Using goods vehicle with unauthorised weights as well as authorised weights marked on it.

      12. 65. Vehicles and parts not t connection with unfit or overloaded goods vehicles.">71. Offences in connection with unfit or overloaded goods vehicles.

      13. 72. Removal of prohibitions.

      14. 73. Provisions supplementary to sections 69 to 72.

    5. Miscellaneous provisions about vehicles and vehicle parts

      1. 74. Operator's duty to inspect, and keep records of inspections of, goods vehicles.

      2. 75. Vehicles not to be sold in unroadworthy condition or altered so as to be unroadworthy.

      3. 76. Fitting and supply of defective or unsuitable vehicle parts.

      4. 77. Testing condition of used vehicles at sale rooms, etc.

      5. 78. Weighing of motor vehicles.

      6. 79. Further provisions relating to weighing of motor vehicles.

      7. 80. Approval marks.

    6. Pedal cycles and horse-drawn vehicles

      1. 81. Regulation of brakes, bells etc., on pedal cycles.

      2. 82. Regulation of brakes on horse-drawn vehicles.

    7. Miscellaneous

      1. 83. Offences to do with reflectors and tail lamps.

      2. 84. Appointment of officials and destination of fees.

      3. 85. Interpretation of Part II.

      4. 86. Index to Part II.

  3. Part III

    Licensing of Drivers of Vehicles

    1. Requirement to hold licence

      1. 87. Drivers of motor vehicles to have driving licences.

      2. 88. Exceptions.

    2. Tests

      1. 89. Tests of competence to drive.

      2. 90. Review of conduct of test.

      3. 91. Repayment of test fees.

    3. Physical fitness

      1. 92. Requirements as to physical fitness of drivers.

      2. 93. Revocation of licence because of disability or prospective disability.

      3. 94. Provision of information, etc. relating to disabilities.

      4. 95. Notification of refusal of insurance on grounds of health.

      5. 96. Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight.

    4. Granting of licences, their form and duration

      1. 97. Grant of licences.

      2. 98. Form of licence.

      3. 99. Duration of licences.

    5. Appeals

      1. 100. Appeals relating to licences.

    6. Disqualification (otherwise than on conviction)

      1. 101. Disqualification of persons under age.

      2. 102. Disqualification to prevent duplication of licences.

      3. 103. Obtaining licence, or driving, while disqualified.

    7. Miscellaneous

      1. 104. Conduct of proceedings in certain courts by or against the Secretary of State.

      2. 105. Regulations.

      3. 106. Destination of fees for licences, etc.

      4. 107. Service of notices.

      5. 108. Interpretation.

      6. 109. Provisions as to Northern Ireland drivers' licences.

  4. Part IV

    Licensing of Drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles

    1. Requirement for HGV licence

      1. 110. Drivers of heavy goods vehicles to be licensed.

    2. Grant, duration and revocation of licences

      1. 111. Licensing authority, and applications, for HGV drivers' licences.

      2. 112. Grant of HGV drivers' licences.

      3. 113. Duration of HGV drivers' licences.

      4. 114. Disqualification on revocation of HGV driver's licence.

    3. Appeals and review of tests

      1. 115. Review of conduct of test.

      2. 116. Appeals relating to HGV drivers' licences.

    4. General and supplemental

      1. 117. Regulations.

      2. 118. Fees and expenses.

      3. 119. Common test of competence to drive for the purposes of Parts III and IV.

      4. 120. Interpretation.

      5. 121. Provisions as to Northern Ireland heavy goods vehicle drivers' licences.

      6. 122. Protection of public interests.

  5. Part V

    Driving Instruction

    1. Instructors to be registered or licensed

      1. 123. Driving instruction for payment to be given only by registered or licensed persons.

      2. 124. Exemption of police instructors from prohibition imposed by section 123.

    2. Registration

      1. 125. The register of approved instructors.

      2. 126. Duration of registration.

      3. 127. Extension of duration of registration.

      4. 128. Removal of names from register.

    3. Licences

      1. 129. Licences for giving instruction so as to obtain practical experience.

      2. 130. Revocation of licences.

    4. Appeals

      1. 131. Appeals.

    5. Examinations and tests

      1. 132. Examinations and tests of ability to give driving instruction.

      2. 133. Review of examinations.

    6. General and supplemental

      1. 134. Power to alter conditions for entry or retention in, and removal from, register and for grant or revocation of licences.

      2. 135. Power to prescribe form of certificate of registration, etc.

      3. 136. Surrender of certificates and licences.

      4. 137. Production of certificates and licences to constables and authorised persons.

      5. 138. Offences by corporations.

      6. 139. Service of notices.

      7. 140. Receipts.

      8. 141. Regulations.

      9. 142. Index to Part V.

  6. Part VI

    Third-Party Liabilities

    1. Compulsory insurance or security against third-party risks

      1. 143. Users of motor vehicles to be insured or secured against third-party risks.

      2. 144. Exceptions from requirement of third-party insurance or security.

      3. 145. Requirements in respect of policies of insurance.

      4. 146. Requirements in respect of securities.

      5. 147. Issue and surrender of certificates of insurance and of security.

      6. 148. Avoidance of certain exceptions to policies or securities.

      7. 149. Avoidance of certain agreements as to liability towards passengers.

      8. 150. Insurance or security in respect of private use of vehicle to cover use under car-sharing arrangements.

      9. 151. Duty of insurers or persons giving security to satisfy judgment against persons insured or secured against third-party risks.

      10. 152. Exceptions to section 151.

      11. 153. Bankruptcy, etc., of insured or secured persons not to affect claims by third parties.

      12. 154. Duty to give information as to insurance or security where claim made.

      13. 155. Deposits.

      14. 156. Power to require evidence of insurance or security on application for vehicle excise licence.

    2. Payments for treatment of traffic casualties

      1. 157. Payment for hospital treatment of traffic casualties.

      2. 158. Payment for emergency treatment of traffic casualties.

      3. 159. Supplementary provisions as to payments for treatment.

    3. General

      1. 160. Regulations.

      2. 161. Interpretation.

      3. 162. Index to Part VI.

  7. Part VII

    Miscellaneous and General

    1. Powers of constables and other authorised persons

      1. 163. Power of police to stop vehicles.

      2. 164. Power of constables to require production of driving licence and in certain cases statement of date of birth.

      3. 165. Power of constables to obtain names and addresses of drivers and others, and to require production of evidence of insurance or security and test certificates.

      4. 166. Powers of certifying officers and examiners as respects goods vehicles.

      5. 167. Power of arrest in Scotland for reckless or careless driving or cycling.

    2. Duty to give name and address

      1. 168. Failure to give, or giving false, name and address in case of reckless or careless or inconsiderate driving or cycling.

      2. 169. Pedestrian contravening constable's direction to stop to give name and address.

    3. Duties in case of accident

      1. 170. Duty of driver to stop, report accident and give information or documents.

    4. Other duties to give information or documents

      1. 171. Duty of owner of motor vehicle to give information for verifying compliance with requirement of compulsory insurance or security.

      2. 172. Duty to give information as to identity of driver, etc., in certain cases.

    5. Forgery, false statements, etc.

      1. 173. Forgery of documents, etc.

      2. 174. False statements and withholding material information.

      3. 175. Issue of false documents.

      4. 176. Power to seize articles in respect of which offences under sections 173 to 175 may have been committed.

      5. 177. Impersonation of, or of person employed by, authorised examiner.

    6. Offences in Scotland

      1. 178. Taking motor vehicle without authority, etc.

    7. Inquiries

      1. 179. General power to hold enquiries.

      2. 180. General provisions as to inquiries.

      3. 181. General provisions as to accident inquiries.

      4. 182. Special provisions as to accident inquiries in Greater London.

    8. Application to the Crown

      1. 191. Interpretation of statutory references to carriages.

      2. 192. General interpretation of Act.

      3. 193. Exemptions for tramcars, trolley vehicles, railway locomotives, carriages and trucks.

      4. 194. General index.

    9. Supplementary

      1. 195. Provisions as to regulations.

      2. 196. Provision, etc., of weighbridges.

      3. 197. Short title, commencement and extent.

    1. Schedule 1

      Supplementary provisions in connection with proceedings for offences under sections 17 and 18(4).

    2. Schedule 2

      Deferred tests of condition of vehicles.

    3. Schedule 3

      Appeals under section 131 against decisions of the Registrar.

    4. Schedule 4

      Provisions not applicable to tramcars, etc.

An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to road traffic with amendments to give effect to recommendations of the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission.

[15th November 1988]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:--



Part I Principal Road Safety Provisions

Driving offences

1 Causing death by reckless driving

A person who causes the death of another person by driving a motor vehicle on a road recklessly is guilty of an offence.

2 Reckless driving

A person who drives a motor vehicle on a road recklessly is guilty of an offence.

3 Careless, and inconsiderate, driving

If a person drives a motor vehicle on a road without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road, he is guilty of an offence.



Motor vehicles: drink and drugs

4 Driving, or being in charge, when under influence of drink or drugs

(1) A person who, when driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, is unfit to drive through drink or drugs is guilty of an offence.

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1) above, a person who, when in charge of a motor vehicle which is on a road or other public place, is unfit to drive through drink or drugs is guilty of an offence.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) above, a person shall be deemed not to have been in charge of a motor vehicle if he proves that at the material time the circumstances were such that there was no likelihood of his driving it so long as he remained unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

(4) The court may, in determining whether there was such a likelihood as is mentioned in subsection (3) above, disregard any injury to him and any damage to the vehicle.

(5) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be taken to be unfit to drive if his ability to drive properly is for the time being impaired.

(6) A constable may arrest a person without warrant if he has reasonable cause to suspect that that person is or has been committing an offence under this section.

(7) For the purpose of arresting a person under the power conferred by subsection (6) above, a constable may enter (if need be by force) any place where that person is or where the constable, with reasonable cause, suspects him to be.

(8) Subsection (7) above does not extend to Scotland, and nothing in that subsection affects any rule of law in Scotland concerning the right of a constable to enter any premises for any purpose.

5 Driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above prescribed limit

(1) If a person--

(a) drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, or

(b) is in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place,

after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit he is guilty of an offence.

(2) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1)(b) above to prove that at the time he is alleged to have committed the offence the circumstances were such that there was no likelihood of his driving the vehicle whilst the proportion of alcohol in his breath, blood or urine remained likely to exceed the prescribed limit.

(3) The court may, in determining whether there was such a likelihood as is mentioned in subsection (2) above, disregard any injury to him and any damage to the vehicle.

6 Breath tests

(1) Where a constable in uniform has reasonable cause to suspect--

(a) that a person driving or attempting to drive or in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place has alcohol in his body or has committed a traffic offence whilst the vehicle was in motion, or

(b) that a person has been driving or attempting to drive or been in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with alcohol in his body and that that person still has alcohol in his body, or

(c) that a person has been driving or attempting to drive or been in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place and has committed a traffic offence whilst the vehicle was in motion,

he may, subject to section 9 of this Act, require him to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test.

(2) If an accident occurs owing to the presence of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, a constable may, subject to section 9 of this Act, require any person who he has reasonable cause to believe was driving or attempting to drive or in charge of the vehicle at the time of the accident to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test.

(3) A person may be required under subsection (1) or subsection (2) above to provide a specimen either at or near the place where the requirement is made or, if the requirement is made under subsection (2) above and the constable making the requirement thinks fit, at a police station specified by the constable.

(4) A person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to provide a specimen of breath when required to do so in pursuance of this section is guilty of an offence.

(5) A constable may arrest a person without warrant if--

(a) as a result of a breath test he has reasonable cause to suspect that the proportion of alcohol in that person's breath or blood exceeds the prescribed limit, or

(b) that person has failed to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test when required to do so in pursuance of this section and the constable has reasonable cause to suspect that he has alcohol in his body,

but a person shall not be arrested by virtue of this subsection when he is at a hospital as a patient.

(6) A constable may, for the purpose of requiring a person to provide a specimen of breath under subsection (2) above in a case where he has reasonable cause to suspect that the accident involved injury to another person or of arresting him in such a case under subsection (5) above, enter (if need be by force) any place where that person is or where the constable, with reasonable cause, suspects him to be.

(7) Subsection (6) above does not extend to Scotland, and nothing in that subsection shall affect any rule of law in Scotland concerning the right of a constable to enter any premises for any purpose.

(8) In this section "traffic offence" means an offence under--

(a) any provision of Part II of the [1981 c. 14.] Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981,

(b) any provision of the [1984 c. 27.] Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984,

(c) any provision of the [1988 c. 53.] Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 except Part III, or

(d) any provision of this Act except Part V.

7 Provision of specimens for analysis

(1) In the course of an investigation into whether a person has committed an offence under section 4 or 5 of this Act a constable may, subject to the following provisions of this section and section 9 of this Act, require him--

(a) to provide two specimens of breath for analysis by means of a device of a type approved by the Secretary of State, or

(b) to provide a specimen of blood or urine for a laboratory test.

(2) A requirement under this section to provide specimens of breath can only be made at a police station.

(3) A requirement under this section to provide a specimen of blood or urine can only be made at a police station or at a hospital; and it cannot be made at a police station unless--

(a) the constable making the requirement has reasonable cause to believe that for medical reasons a specimen of breath cannot be provided or should not be required, or

(b) at the time the requirement is made a device or a reliable device of the type mentioned in subsection (1)(a) above is not available at the police station or it is then for any other reason not practicable to use such a device there, or

(c) the suspected offence is one under section 4 of this Act and the constable making the requirement has been advised by a medical practitioner that the condition of the person required to provide the specimen might be due to some drug;

but may then be made notwithstanding that the person required to provide the specimen has already provided or been required to provide two specimens of breath.

(4) If the provision of a specimen other than a specimen of breath may be required in pursuance of this section the question whether it is to be a specimen of blood or a specimen of urine shall be decided by the constable making the requirement, but if a medical practitioner is of the opinion that for medical reasons a specimen of blood cannot or should not be taken the specimen shall be a specimen of urine.

(5) A specimen of urine shall be provided within one hour of the requirement for its provision being made and after the provision of a previous specimen of urine.

(6) A person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to provide a specimen when required to do so in pursuance of this section is guilty of an offence.

(7) A constable must, on requiring any person to provide a specimen in pursuance of this section, warn him that a failure to provide it may render him liable to prosecution.

8 Choice of specimens of breath

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, of any two specimens of breath provided by any person in pursuance of section 7 of this Act that with the lower proportion of alcohol in the breath shall be used and the other shall be disregarded.

(2) If the specimen with the lower proportion of alcohol contains no more than 50 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the person who provided it may claim that it should be replaced by such specimen as may be required under section 7(4) of this Act and, if he then provides such a specimen, neither specimen of breath shall be used.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations substitute another proportion of alcohol in the breath for that specified in subsection (2) above.

9 Protection for hospital patients

(1) While a person is at a hospital as a patient he shall not be required to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test or to provide a specimen for a laboratory test unless the medical practitioner in immediate charge of his case has been notified of the proposal to make the requirement; and--

(a) if the requirement is then made, it shall be for the provision of a specimen at the hospital, but

(b) if the medical practitioner objects on the ground specified in subsection (2) below, the requirement shall not be made.

(2) The ground on which the medical practitioner may object is that the requirement or the provision of a specimen or, in the case of a specimen of blood or urine, the warning required under section 7(7) of this Act, would be prejudicial to the proper care and treatment of the patient.

10 Detention of persons affected by alcohol or a drug

(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3) below, a person required to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine may afterwards be detained at a police station until it appears to the constable that, were that person then driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road, he would not be committing an offence under section 4 or 5 of this Act.

(2) A person shall not be detained in pursuance of this section if it appears to a constable that there is no likelihood of his driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle whilst his ability to drive properly is impaired or whilst the proportion of alcohol in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit.

(3) A constable must consult a medical practitioner on any question arising under this section whether a person's ability to drive properly is or might be impaired through drugs and must act on the medical practitioner's advice.

11 Interpretation of sections 4 to 10

(1) The following provisions apply for the interpretation of sections 4 to 10 of this Act.

(2) In those sections--

  • "breath test" means a preliminary test for the purpose of obtaining, by means of a device of a type approved by the Secretary of State, an indication whether the proportion of alcohol in a person's breath or blood is likely to exceed the prescribed limit,

  • "drug" includes any intoxicant other than alcohol,

  • "fail" includes refuse,

  • "hospital" means an institution which provides medical or surgical treatment for in-patients or out-patients,

  • "the prescribed limit" means, as the case may require--

(a) 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath,

(b) 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, or

(c) 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine,

or such other proportion as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State.

(3) A person does not provide a specimen of breath for a breath test or for analysis unless the specimen--

(a) is sufficient to enable the test or the analysis to be carried out, and

(b) is provided in such a way as to enable the objective of the test or analysis to be satisfactorily achieved.

(4) A person provides a specimen of blood if and only if he consents to its being taken by a medical practitioner and it is so taken.



Motor racing and motoring events on public ways

12 Motor racing on public ways

(1) A person who promotes or takes part in a race or trial of speed between motor vehicles on a public way is guilty of an offence.

(2) In this section "public way" means, in England and Wales, a public highway and, in Scotland, a public road.

13 Regulation of motoring events on public ways

(1) A person who promotes or takes part in a competition or trial (other than a race or trial of speed) involving the use of motor vehicles on a public way is guilty of an offence unless the competition or trial--

(a) is authorised, and

(b) is conducted in accordance with any conditions imposed,

by or under regulations under this section.

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations authorise, or provide for authorising, the holding of competitions or trials (other than races or trials of speed) involving the use of motor vehicles on public ways either--

(a) generally, or

(b) as regards any area, or as regards any class or description of competition or trial or any particular competition or trial,

subject to such conditions, including conditions requiring the payment of fees, as may be imposed by or under the regulations.

(3) Regulations under this section may--

(a) prescribe the procedure to be followed, and the particulars to be given, in connection with applications for authorisation under the regulations, and

(b) make different provision for different classes or descriptions of competition or trial.

(4) In this section "public way" means, in England and Wales, a public highway and, in Scotland, a public road.



Protective measures: seat belts, helmets, etc.

14 Seat belts: adults

(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations requiring, subject to such exceptions as may be prescribed, persons who are driving or riding in motor vehicles on a road to wear seat belts of such description as may be prescribed.

(2) Regulations under this section--

(a) may make different provision in relation to different classes of vehicles, different descriptions of persons and different circumstances,

(b) shall include exceptions for--

(i) the users of vehicles constructed or adapted for the delivery of goods or mail to consumers or addresses, as the case may be, while engaged in making local rounds of deliveries,

(ii) the drivers of vehicles while performing a manoeuvre which includes reversing,

(iii) any person holding a valid certificate signed by a medical practitioner to the effect that it is inadvisable on medical grounds for him to wear a seat belt,

(c) may make any prescribed exceptions subject to such conditions as may be prescribed, and

(d) may prescribe cases in which a fee of a prescribed amount may be charged on an application for any certificate required as a condition of any prescribed exception.

(3) A person who drives or rides in a motor vehicle in contravention of regulations under this section is guilty of an offence; but, notwithstanding any enactment or rule of law, no person other than the person actually committing the contravention is guilty of an offence by reason of the contravention.

(4) If the holder of any such certificate as is referred to in subsection (2)(b) above is informed by a constable that he may be prosecuted for an offence under subsection (3) above, he is not in proceedings for that offence entitled to rely on the exception afforded to him by the certificate unless--

(a) it is produced to the constable at the time he is so informed, or

(b) it is produced--

(i) within seven days after the date on which he is so informed, or

(ii) as soon as is reasonably practicable,

at such police station as he may have specified to the constable, or

(c) where it is not produced at such police station, it is not reasonably practicable for it to be produced there before the day on which the proceedings are commenced.

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) above, the laying of the information or, in Scotland, the service of the complaint on the accused shall be treated as the commencement of the proceedings.

(6) Regulations under this section requiring the wearing of seat belts by persons riding in motor vehicles shall not apply to children under the age of fourteen years.

15 Restriction on carrying children not wearing seat belts in motor vehicles

(1) Except as provided by regulations, where a child under the age of fourteen years is in the front of a motor vehicle, a person must not without reasonable excuse drive the vehicle on a road unless the child is wearing a seat belt in conformity with regulations.

(2) It is an offence for a person to drive a motor vehicle in contravention of subsection (1) above.

(3) Except as provided by regulations, where a child under the age of fourteen years is in the rear of a motor vehicle and any seat belt is fitted in the rear of that vehicle, a person must not without reasonable excuse drive the vehicle on a road unless the child is wearing a seat belt in conformity with regulations.

(4) It is an offence for a person to drive a motor vehicle in contravention of subsection (3) above.

(5) Provision may be made by regulations--

(a) excepting from the prohibition in subsection (1) or (3) above children of any prescribed description, vehicles of a prescribed class or the driving of vehicles in such circumstances as may be prescribed,

(b) defining in relation to any class of vehicle what part of the vehicle is to be regarded as the front of the vehicle for the purposes of subsection (1) above or as the rear of the vehicle for the purposes of subsection (3) above,

(c) prescribing for the purposes of subsection (1) or (3) above the descriptions of seat belt to be worn by children of any prescribed description and the manner in which such seat belt is to be fixed and used.

(6) Regulations made for the purposes of subsection (3) above shall include an exemption for any child holding a valid certificate signed by a medical practitioner to the effect that it is inadvisable on medical grounds for him to wear a seat belt.

(7) If the driver of a motor vehicle is informed by a constable that he may be prosecuted for an offence under subsection (4) above, he is not in proceedings for that offence entitled to rely on an exception afforded to a child by a certificate referred to in subsection (6) above unless--

(a) it is produced to the constable at the time he is so informed, or

(b) it is produced--

(i) within seven days after the date on which he is so informed, or

(ii) as soon as is reasonably practicable,

at such police station as he may have specified to the constable, or

(c) where it is not produced at such police station, it is not reasonably practicable for it to be produced there before the day on which the proceedings are commenced.

(8) For the purposes of subsection (7) above, the laying of the information or, in Scotland, the service of the complaint on the accused shall be treated as the commencement of the proceedings.

(9) In this section--

  • "regulations" means regulations made by the Secretary of State under this section, and

  • "seat belt" includes any description of restraining device for a child and any reference to wearing a seat belt is to be construed accordingly.

(10) This section is affected by Schedule 5 to the [1988 c. 54.] Road Traffic (Consequential Provisions) Act 1988 (transitory modifications).

16 Wearing of protective headgear

(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations requiring, subject to such exceptions as may be specified in the regulations, persons driving or riding (otherwise than in side-cars) on motor cycles of any class specified in the regulations to wear protective headgear of such description as may be so specified.

(2) A requirement imposed by regulations under this section shall not apply to any follower of the Sikh religion while he is wearing a turban.

(3) Regulations under this section may make different provision in relation to different circumstances.

(4) A person who drives or rides on a motor cycle in contravention of regulations under this section is guilty of an offence; but notwithstanding any enactment or rule of law no person other than the person actually committing the contravention is guilty of an offence by reason of the contravention unless the person actually committing the contravention is a child under the age of sixteen years.

17 Protective helmets for motor cyclists

(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations prescribing (by reference to shape, construction or any other quality) types of helmet recommended as affording protection to persons on or in motor cycles, or motor cycles of different classes, from injury in the event of accident.

(2) If a person sells, or offers for sale, a helmet as a helmet for affording such protection and the helmet is neither--

(a) of a type prescribed under this section, nor

(b) of a type authorised under regulations made under this section and sold or offered for sale subject to any conditions specified in the authorisation,

subject to subsection (3) below, he is guilty of an offence.

(3) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under this section in respect of the sale or offer for sale of a helmet if he proves that it was sold or, as the case may be, offered for sale for export from Great Britain.

(4) The provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect in relation to contraventions of this section.

(5) In this section and that Schedule "helmet" includes any head-dress, and references in this section to selling or offering for sale include respectively references to letting on hire and offering to let on hire.

18 Authorisation of head-worn appliances for use on motor cycles

(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations prescribing (by reference to shape, construction or any other quality) types of appliance of any description to which this section applies as authorised for use by persons driving or riding (otherwise than in sidecars) on motor cycles of any class specified in the regulations.

(2) Regulations under this section--

(a) may impose restrictions or requirements with respect to the circumstances in which appliances of any type prescribed by the regulations may be used, and

(b) may make different provision in relation to different circumstances.

(3) If a person driving or riding on a motor cycle on a road uses an appliance of any description for which a type is prescribed under this section and that appliance--

(a) is not of a type so prescribed, or

(b) is otherwise used in contravention of regulations under this section,

he is guilty of an offence.

(4) If a person sells, or offers for sale, an appliance of any such description as authorised for use by persons on or in motor cycles, or motor cycles of any class, and that appliance is not of a type prescribed under this section as authorised for such use, he is, subject to subsection (5) below, guilty of an offence.

(5) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under this section in respect of the sale or offer for sale of an appliance if he proves that it was sold or, as the case may be, offered for sale for export from Great Britain.

(6) The provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect in relation to contraventions of subsection (4) above.

(7) This section applies to appliances of any description designed or adapted for use--

(a) with any headgear, or

(b) by being attached to or placed upon the head,

(as, for example, eye protectors or earphones).

(8) References in this section to selling or offering for sale include respectively references to letting on hire and offering to let on hire.



Stopping on verges, etc., or in dangerous positions, etc.

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19 Prohibition of parking of HGVs on verges, central reservations and footways

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, a person who parks a heavy commercial vehicle (as defined in section 20 of this Act) wholly or partly--

(a) on the verge of a road, or

(b) on any land situated between two carriageways and which is not a footway, or

(c) on a footway,

is guilty of an offence.

(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under this section in respect of a vehicle if he proves to the satisfaction of the court--

(a) that it was parked in accordance with permission given by a constable in uniform, or

(b) that it was parked in contravention of this section for the purpose of saving life or extinguishing fire or meeting any other like emergency, or

(c) that it was parked in contravention of this section but the conditions specified in subsection (3) below were satisfied.

(3) The conditions mentioned in subsection (2)(c) above are--

(a) that the vehicle was parked on the verge of a road or on a footway for the purpose of loading or unloading, and

(b) that the loading or unloading of the vehicle could not have been satisfactorily performed if it had not been parked on the footway or verge, and

(c) that the vehicle was not left unattended at any time while it was so parked.

(4) In this section "carriageway" and "footway", in relation to England and Wales, have the same meanings as in the [1980 c. 66.] Highways Act 1980.

20 Definition of "heavy commercial vehicle" for the purposes of section 19

(1) In section 19 of this Act, "heavy commercial vehicle" means any goods vehicle which has an operating weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes.

(2) The operating weight of a goods vehicle for the purposes of this section is--

(a) in the case of a motor vehicle not drawing a trailer or in the case of a trailer, its maximum laden weight,

(b) in the case of an articulated vehicle, its maximum laden weight (if it has one) and otherwise the aggregate maximum laden weight of all the individual vehicles forming part of that articulated vehicle, and

(c) in the case of a motor vehicle (other than an articulated vehicle) drawing one or more trailers, the aggregate maximum laden weight of the motor vehicle and the trailer or trailers attached to it.

(3) In this section "articulated vehicle" means a motor vehicle with a trailer so attached to it as to be partially superimposed upon it; and references to the maximum laden weight of a vehicle are references to the total laden weight which must not be exceeded in the case of that vehicle if it is to be used in Great Britain without contravening any regulations for the time being in force under section 41 of this Act.

(4) In this section, and in the definition of "goods vehicle" in section 192 of this Act as it applies for the purposes of this section, "trailer" means any vehicle other than a motor vehicle.

(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend subsections (1) and (2) above (whether as originally enacted or as previously amended under this subsection)--

(a) by substituting weights of a different description for any of the weights there mentioned, or

(b) in the case of subsection (1) above, by substituting a weight of a different description or amount, or a weight different both in description and amount, for the weight there mentioned.

(6) Different regulations may be made under subsection (5) above as respects different classes of vehicles or as respects the same class of vehicles in different circumstances and as respects different times of the day or night and as respects different localities.

(7) Regulations under subsection (5) above shall not so amend subsection (1) above that there is any case in which a goods vehicle whose operating weight (ascertained in accordance with subsection (2) above as originally enacted) does not exceed 7.5 tonnes is a heavy commercial vehicle for any of the purposes of section 19 of this Act.

21 Prohibition of driving or parking on cycle tracks

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, any person who, without lawful authority, drives or parks a motor vehicle wholly or partly on a cycle track is guilty of an offence.

(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under subsection (1) above with respect to a vehicle if he proves to the satisfaction of the court--

(a) that the vehicle was driven or (as the case may be) parked in contravention of that subsection for the purpose of saving life, or extinguishing fire or meeting any other like emergency, or

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