Road Traffic Act 1972

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1972 c. 20


Road Traffic Act 1972

1972 CHAPTER 20

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.

[30th March 1972]

B e 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:—

I Principal Road Safety Provisions

Part I

Principal Road Safety Provisions

Offences connected with driving of motor vehicles

Offences connected with driving of motor vehicles

S-1 Causing death by reckless or dangerous driving

1 Causing death by reckless or dangerous driving

(1) A person who causes the death of another person by the driving of a motor vehicle on a road recklessly, or at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the nature, condition and use of the road, and the amount of traffic which is actually at the time, or which might reasonably be expected to be, on the road, shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) Section 20 of the Coroners (Amendment) Act 1926 (which makes special provision where the coroner is informed before the jury have given their verdict that some person has been charged with one of the offences specified in that section) shall apply to an offence against this section as it applies to manslaughter.

S-2 Reckless, and dangerous, driving generally.

2 Reckless, and dangerous, driving generally.

If a person drives a motor vehicle on a road recklessly, or at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the nature, condition and use of the road, and the amount of traffic which is actually at the time, or which might reasonably be expected to be, on the road, he shall be guilty of an offence.

S-3 Careless, and inconsiderate, driving.

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 shall be guilty of an offence.

S-4 Driving under age

4 Driving under age

(1) A person shall not drive on a road a motor vehicle of a class specified in the first column of the following Table if he is under the age specified in relation thereto in the second column of that Table.

Table

Class of motor vehicle Age

1. Motor cycle or invalid carriage

16

2. Motor car

17

3. Tractor used primarily for work on land in connection with agriculture

17

4. Heavy locomotive, light locomotive, motor tractor or heavy motor car, but not including such a tractor as is mentioned in paragraph 3

21

(2) Regulations may provide that in relation to motor cycles or, if it is so prescribed by the regulations, in relation to motor cycles of a class so prescribed, the foregoing Table shall have effect as if it specified such minimum age as may be so prescribed, not being less than—

( a ) 16 years, in the case of motor cycles other than those of the class specified in the following paragraph;

( b ) 15 years, in the case of motor cycles whereof the cylinder capacity of the engine does not exceed 50 cubic centimetres, being cycles equipped with pedals by means whereof they are capable of being propelled;

but a person shall not be prohibited by virtue of regulations having effect by virtue of this subsection from driving motor cycles of any class if at any time before the coming into force of the regulations he has held or was entitled (on making the requisite application and declaration and on payment of the appropriate fee) to the grant of a licence, other than a provisional licence, authorising him to drive that class of motor cycle or if at the time of the coming into force of the regulations he holds a provisional licence.

(3) Regulations may provide—

( a ) that the age under which a person may not drive on a road a motor car constructed as mentioned in section 190(9) of this Act shall, if the motor car is of a class specified in the regulations, and is driven with a trailer attached to it in the manner mentioned in that subsection, be 21 instead of 17;

( b ) that the age under which a person may not drive on a road a tractor used primarily for work on land in connection with agriculture shall, if the tractor is of a class specified in the regulations and is driven in circumstances so specified, be 16 instead of 17;

( c ) that the age under which a person may not drive on a road a road roller falling within paragraph 4 of the Table set out in subsection (1) above shall, if the roller is of a class specified in the regulations and is driven in circumstances so specified, be 17 instead of 21;

but—

(i) a person shall not be prohibited by virtue of regulations under paragraph ( a ) above from driving a motor car of any class if at any time before the coming into force of the regulations he has held, or was entitled (on making the requisite application and declaration and on payment of the appropriate fee) to the grant of, a licence, other than a provisional licence, authorising him to drive that class of motor car; and

(ii) a person under the age of 17 who has not passed the prescribed test of competence to drive such a tractor as is mentioned in paragraph ( b ) above shall not be authorised by regulations made under that paragraph to drive such a tractor on a road except while taking, proceeding to or returning from such a test.

(4) A person who drives, or causes or permits a person to drive, a motor vehicle in contravention of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence.

S-5 Driving, or being in charge, when under influence of drink or drugs.

5 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 shall be 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 shall be 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) 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.

(5) A constable may arrest without warrant a person committing an offence under this section.

S-6 Driving, of being in charge, with blood-alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit.

6 Driving, of being in charge, with blood-alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit.

(1) If a person drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the proportion thereof in his blood, as ascertained from a laboratory test for which he subsequently provides a specimen under section 9 of this Act, exceeds the prescribed limit at the time he provides the specimen, he shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1) above, if a person is in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place having consumed alcohol as aforesaid, he shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) A person shall not be convicted under this section of being 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 there was any probability of his having alcohol in his blood in a proportion exceeding the prescribed limit.

(4) In determining for the purposes of subsection (3) above the likelihood of a person's driving a motor vehicle when he is injured or the vehicle is damaged, the jury, in the case of proceedings on indictment, may be directed to disregard, and the court in any other case may disregard, the fact that he had been injured or that the vehicle had been damaged.

S-7 Evidence on charge of unfitness to drive.

7 Evidence on charge of unfitness to drive.

(1) In any proceedings for an offence under section 5 of this Act, the court shall, subject to section 10(5) thereof, have regard to any evidence which may be given of the proportion or quantity of alcohol or of any drug which was contained in the blood or present in the body of the accused, as ascertained by analysis of a specimen of blood taken from him with his consent by a medical practitioner, or of urine provided by him, at any material time; and if it is proved that the accused, when so requested by a constable at any such time, refused to consent to the taking of or to provide a specimen for analysis, his refusal may, unless reasonable cause therefor is shown, be treated as supporting any evidence given on behalf of the prosecution, or as rebutting any evidence given on behalf of the defence, with respect to his condition at that time.

(2) A person shall not be treated for the purposes of subsection (1) above as refusing to provide a specimen unless—

( a ) he is first requested to provide a specimen of blood, but refuses to do so;

( b ) he is then requested to provide two specimens of urine within one hour of the request, but fails to provide them within the hour or refuses at any time within the hour to provide them; and

( c ) he is again requested to provide a specimen of blood, but refuses to do so.

(3) The first specimen of urine...

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