Could you please advise me on the driving legislation regarding max driving hours and distances per day for company car drivers.
I run a small plumbing and heating business and own three vehicles. I employ two other plumbers and they both drive these vans. The insurance on one of the vans ran out recently and I didn’t renew it. I was so busy I forgot. One of my employees has been stopped and now we are both in court. He is being done for driving without insurance and I’m getting done for permitting him to drive without insurance. I would like a solicitor to represent us in court and I feel obliged to sort a solicitor out for my employee because I think it was my fault. What’s my best course of action?
S.143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence to drive or use a vehicle on a road without a policy of insurance covering third party liabilities. The prosecution need only prove use of the vehicle and it is then for the driver or user to prove that a valid insurance policy was in place covering that use. This is a strict liability offence, that is, you either have insurance or you do not.
If you have failed to arrange insurance for the use of your vehicles and you have permitted your employees to drive those vehicles without insurance then you have a problem. The prosecution will, however, need to prove that you have permitted the use of the vehicle and it may be worth taking advice regarding this point. Their ability to prove this may depend on whether you are a sole trader, partner or limited company and whether you gave permission for the vehicle to be used.
In the case of an employee driving in the course of his or her employment they are entitled to assume that the employer has arranged insurance and has a defence under S143(3) of the Act. Providing the employee did not know the vehicle was uninsured then he/she is not guilty of the offence.
The offence of Permitting no insurance carries the same penalties as Driving without Insurance, namely 6 to 8 points or disqualification and a fine.