My son, as a 16 year old, used to have a scooter which was registered in my name for insurance reasons – and also because my son is a bit of a numpty who won’t deal with any paperwork.
As soon as he passed his driving test, he left his scooter outside our house where it has slowly but surely deteriorated. He had it under a tarpaulin cover, and after two and a half years of not being used, I got a mate in the motorcycle trade to look it over.
He said it was only worth its scrap weight, which was not a lot. I had organised for a scrap man to come and take the bike away, and ready for the scrap man to take the bike away, I took the cover off it.
I then had my door knocked on by a PCSO, who very officiously told me I was committing about 200 different road traffic offences, and when I tried to explain that the bike was about to go for scrap, it had not moved in two and a half years, the brakes were seized on, all the petrol had evaporated in the tank, the battery was as dead as a door nail, and both tyres were flat, so the bike clearly was not going anywhere, she still told me that the vehicle was a motor vehicle and it was covered by the Road Traffic Act 1988 and as such it needed to be insured, MOT’d and not dangerous.
I have now been summoned to Court for the offences of failure to tax and failure to insure – but nothing about keeping a dangerous vehicle on the road. These offences could, quite probably, cost me my job.
I drive all day for a living, and I have had a clean driving licence for 26 years. I am now told to expect between six and eight points for the insurance offence, along with a fine for not having the vehicle taxed. Nobody seems that bothered about the MOT.
Apart from arranging to have my son shot, or at least beaten up, is there anything I can do?
As a matter of law, the prosecution is right. The law on this point has evolved over the years, but the Magistrates Court are bound to follow a High Court authority which is very similar to your case. If a vehicle is on the road it must have MOT, tax and insurance.
If you had pushed the vehicle on to your drive you would have been committing no criminal offence. Because you are the registered keeper, it is your duty to keep the vehicle insured. You put the vehicle into your own name because you knew your son would not be bothered to tax or insure it so you wanted the reminder to come to you.
Unfortunately, the Magistrates are bound to follow the law, and once they follow the law, they are bound to impose the mandatory punishment of at least six points. The fact that you have got yourself into this position by your son leaving a bike registered in your name out on the highway to rot, does not really help you.
The entire band of punishment goes from the minimum six points, which is where I think you are going to be, to a possible 12 months disqualification. Not good for you. If, as I expect the Magistrates will be merciful, because they can see this has happened by oversight and with no real criminal intent I suspect you are on for six points and a relatively modest fine, but I cannot give you any better news.
Fast Bikes – December 2015