Road Traffic Offenders (Surrender of Driving Licences Etc) (No. 2) Bill

Explanatory Notes

Legal background

10 The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 ("the Act") made provision for fixed penalty procedures, and various court procedures, to be followed in relation to road traffic offences. The Act provides for two different fixed penalty procedures – fixed penalty notices and conditional offers.

11 Fixed penalty notices are issued under section 54 of the Act by police constables, or Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) vehicle examiners. For offences which involve obligatory endorsement, fixed penalty notices may be handed out "on–the-spot" where the constable, or vehicle examiner, has stopped a vehicle having reason to believe that the driver has committed a fixed penalty offence, and after checking that the driver would not be liable for disqualification for totting up 12 or more penalty points, and where the driver surrenders their licence. If the driver accepts the notice and pays the fixed penalty to the fixed penalty clerk, or the Secretary of State, their driving record will be endorsed with the appropriate penalty points for the offence and they will not be prosecuted.

12 Currently where a fixed penalty notice is issued the driver must surrender their licence to the police constable, or vehicle examiner, issuing the notice. Where the driver does not have their licence with them when they are stopped they cannot be issued with a fixed penalty notice. Instead the driver can be given an interim notice under section 54(5) of the Act which provides that if the driver attends a specified police station and hands over their driving licence and the interim notice (or sends them to a specified office of the Secretary of State where the interim notice is given by a vehicle examiner) they will be given a fixed penalty notice in exchange.

13 Conditional offers of fixed penalties can be issued under section 75 of the Act by delivery to, or being sent in the post to, alleged traffic offenders. For offences which involve obligatory endorsement, and where the offender would not be liable for disqualification for totting up 12 or more penalty points, the offender will not be prosecuted if they pay the fixed penalty offered, and surrender their driving licence for endorsement.

14 Where a person is prosecuted in court for a driving offence involving obligatory or discretionary disqualification they are currently required to deliver, or post, their licence to court prior to the hearing, or bring it with them to the hearing.


Prepared 8th May 2018