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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have received a Form 963 alleging that I was driving without

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I have received a Form 963 alleging that I was driving without due care and attention and failed to stop after an accident. I have returned the form stating that I was the driver at that time and date but I was unaware of any accident.
The circumstances are that I was stationary in the appropriate lane at the entrance to a major roundabout awaiting traffic to clear from the right. I glanced over and saw a cyclist on my nearside very close to my stationary car ( a Mercedes 4x4 ). When the traffic cleared I looked over to make sure that he had not pulled off in front of me, but he was still alongside my car so I drove forward and continued my journey. He must have had the accident as no other cars were involved. what happens now, please ?

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Did the cyclist sustain injuries?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
As I stated, before I drove forward I looked over and the cyclist was still upright alongside my car, so uninjured. Whether he came off afterwards, I have no idea. What struck me as odd was that whilst he was alongside my 4x4 he would have had no view of the traffic on the roundabout !
Thanks for that information.

I need to take a step back and examine this.

When you say a 963 form, I presume you mean a request for the identity of the driver under section 172? If so, have you responded naming yourself unequivocally as the driver or have you gone on to comment about this incident on the form?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
For Jomo 1972
I confirmed I was the driver and went into some detail about the proximity of the cyclist and that I was unaware of my involvement in an accident.
Thats a shame.

Was that on the same form or an attached letter that they might lose?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
For Jomo 1972
I wrote it on the other side of the Reply page so it shouldn't be lost, unless they photocopy just the main side !!
Ok. Its too late to do anything about that now. They won't lose the other side of the S172 unfortunately.

In terms of what happens now, they might invite you in for police interview. It depends on the seriousness of the allegation.

Most likely though, I would expect them to summons you immediately for failing to stop and report and careless driving.

You would attend on the date set down and plead either guilty or not. If you plead guilty you would probably be sentenced immediately. If you plead not guilty then it would be adjourned and set down for a trial date. The Crown might accept a plea to failing to stop or careless driving alone rather than pursue both.

You may have a defence to careless driving. They have to show some form of negligent act on your part. An accident alone is not sufficient.

In terms of failing to stop, you have problems I'm afraid. The first problem is that unfortunately on the S172 form itself you have described the incident in detail and the Crown will say you would only remember it if something did happen so its going to be difficult to contest that. Also, you seem to accept that there must have been some form of incident. The law is quite strict on failing to stop. It doesn't just demand that you stop if you are aware of an accident. You are required to stop if there was any reason to believe there may have been an accident. There have been cases that have literally said that hearing a noise is sufficient.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
For jomo 1972
Thanks for that.
If, as you may be hinting, considering the circumstances it might be wiser if I pleaded guilty to failing to stop after an accident (which I wasn't aware of), would I get the opportunity to give my account of the events in court ?
I wouldn't necessarily do that. Its just something to bear in mind.

I used to prosecute traffic courts all the time and where they charge both careless driving and failing to stop they will almost always take a plea to careless driving.

That is difficult to assess because you do have a defence to careless driving and you might well win at trial but it carries a reduced penalty to failing to stop so you might want to take advantage of your position. Its perfectly ethical to do that.

Yes, you will be able to mitigate.

It might all turn into a single charge for careless driving anyway.
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