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Burnsy2023

Section 165 Road Traffic Act

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I know this is used to seize uninsured vehicles, but I have two questions:

1) I can't seem to find the bit of legislation that allows seizure. Can someone link me to it on legislation.gov.uk?

2) What is the point of seizure? To prevent further driving of uninsured vehicles?

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Links to Adslegends answer...just for ease and convenience

s165A

http://www.legislati...52/section/165A

s165B

http://www.legislati...52/section/165B

as i understand it, the point of seizure is the car is not legal to be on the road and if it were to have an accident whilst making its way off the road etc then the police could be blamed for letting it on its way knowing it wasn't insured. also as a preventative measure, some people would continue to use the car without insurance knowing the police won't arrest them but give them a summons or FPN which doesn't bother a lot of people these days. removing (or at least the threat of) the car from them is a deterrent (in some cases). not to forget the £100+ recovery fee and storage costs for the car as well as the fine. if they dont want to pay that they can sign the car over and if its worth something the police can auction it off or have it crushed if its a heap of junk nobody would buy!

Edited by myky

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S165a says,

'Where this subsection applies, the constable may—[/url]

(a)

seize the vehicle in accordance with subsections (6) and (7) and remove it;

(b)

enter, for the purpose of exercising a power falling within paragraph (a), any premises (other than a private dwelling house) on which he has reasonable grounds for believing the vehicle to be;

©

use reasonable force, if necessary, in the exercise of any power conferred by paragraph (a) or (b)'

Say PC Smith has stopped Jack driving his vehicle with no insurance. PC Smith is seizing the vehicle, and asks Jack to hand over the keys. Jack refuses to do so. Can PC Smith use reasonable force to obtain the keys from Jack, and does Jack commit an offence if he refuses to provide the keys? In theory, PC Smith can seize the vehicle without the keys, but it may make the recovery vehicle's job a lot harder. I would imagine therefore that the offence of obstruction doesn't fit, as PC Smith can still do his job.

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Seizure of the vehicle is not a penalty and should only be done if it is necessary to prevent the offence continuing. So if an uninsured driver phones up there and then and arranges insurance (and you are able to validate this by speaking to the insurer yourself), or if they arrange someone to come to the scene who can lawfully drive the vehicle, then you shouldn't need to seize it. Don't confuse the penalty (min £200 fine and six penalty points) with the preventative measure (vehicle seizure). You can have the first without the second.

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Say PC Smith has stopped Jack driving his vehicle with no insurance. PC Smith is seizing the vehicle, and asks Jack to hand over the keys. Jack refuses to do so. Can PC Smith use reasonable force to obtain the keys from Jack, and does Jack commit an offence if he refuses to provide the keys? In theory, PC Smith can seize the vehicle without the keys, but it may make the recovery vehicle's job a lot harder. I would imagine therefore that the offence of obstruction doesn't fit, as PC Smith can still do his job.

No, there is no power to seize the keys as well, and no offence is committed if the driver refuses to hand them over. In practise it comes down to the power of persuasion to get the driver to hand over the keys. If he doesn't? Well, the vehicle may well get damaged during the recovery and we need to let the driver know that, but it's still up to him/her.

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Seizure of the vehicle is not a penalty and should only be done if it is necessary to prevent the offence continuing. So if an uninsured driver phones up there and then and arranges insurance (and you are able to validate this by speaking to the insurer yourself), or if they arrange someone to come to the scene who can lawfully drive the vehicle, then you shouldn't need to seize it. Don't confuse the penalty (min £200 fine and six penalty points) with the preventative measure (vehicle seizure). You can have the first without the second.

On the point about an uninsured driver phoning up to get insurance at the roadside; I did my Sec. 165 training recently and we were told not to accept this. There is a clause (I think it is in the Road Traffic Regulations Act, but I notes are at home so I can update later) that states insurance is only valid once the actual printed policy or cover note is received at the registered address of the insured.

The reason for not accepting it is that drivers were driving off and then making another call when just around the corner to the insurance company to cancel the policy under the 14 day cooling off period.

Like I say, I can update later when I get my notes unless someone can clarify this for me.

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On the point about an uninsured driver phoning up to get insurance at the roadside; I did my Sec. 165 training recently and we were told not to accept this. There is a clause (I think it is in the Road Traffic Regulations Act, but I notes are at home so I can update later) that states insurance is only valid once the actual printed policy or cover note is received at the registered address of the insured.

The reason for not accepting it is that drivers were driving off and then making another call when just around the corner to the insurance company to cancel the policy under the 14 day cooling off period.

Like I say, I can update later when I get my notes unless someone can clarify this for me.

Using that logic, surely we should be seizing the car for a minimum of 14 days to ensure that this doesn't happen at all? Sounds like a training room war-story.

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No, there is no power to seize the keys as well, and no offence is committed if the driver refuses to hand them over. In practise it comes down to the power of persuasion to get the driver to hand over the keys. If he doesn't? Well, the vehicle may well get damaged during the recovery and we need to let the driver know that, but it's still up to him/her.

I disagree, if a driver refused to give me the keys for a seizure he'd find himself arrested for obstruction. The power exists for the seizure, therefore the power exists to arrest someone who obstructs you from carrying it out.

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There are also other powers used to seize vehicles dependant on the offence or reasons you require the vehicle to be seized.

Section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act (RTRA)

The Police are empowered to remove vehicles that are illegally, dangerously or obstructively parked, or broken down, or abandoned. Such removals are important to enable the police to enforce the law, remove obstructions and potential dangers, prevent theft of the vehicles, their being used for crime or becoming a focus for crime or environmental degradation, or being driven whilst in a dangerous condition.

Section 59 Police Reform Act 2002

The Police also have powers to seize and remove vehicles driven by someone without an appropriate licence or without insurance. Under the PRA, they can seize vehicles which are being driven carelessly or inconsiderately on road or off road without authority, contrary to the RTA, and in such a manner as to cause or be likely to be cause alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public. These powers are important to enable the police to put an immediate stop to serious anti-social behaviour and to tackle effectively serious criminality often associated with danger to other road users.

Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

The Police can also recover vehicles under the provisions of PACE, however unlike the two former options the seizing force is responsible for all recovery and storage charges that arise. It is quite legitimate to recover a vehicle under section 99 or 59 above. If after initial enquiries and examinations are complete it is decided to retain the vehicle it is only at that point that PACE charges apply.

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I had a look at my 165 training notes regarding actual printed receipt of the insurance policy and not just a call over the phone at the roadside last night, and here is a reasonable explanation of it online from an insurance company;

Certificate of Motor Insurance

Section 147 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 states that a policy of insurance shall be of no effect in respect of the provisions of the Act unless and until a certificate of insurance has been delivered by the insurer to the policyholder. The certificate is evidence only that a policy of insurance exists which meets the provisions of the Act, and of itself has no relevance to any additional cover which may be written into the contract of insurance. It is not unusual, however, for insurers to make the operation of the policy as a whole conditional upon the terms of the certificate and this aspect will be discussed further. Once a certificate has been issued the insurer is obliged to honour its terms so far as Act liabilities incurred by the policyholder are concerned. He is only released from this responsibility when the certificate is returned to him for cancellation, or alternatively if the policyholder signs a statutory declaration to the effect that the certificate has been lost or destroyed. Section 148 of the Act, however, does permit the insurer to recover from the policyholder any sums that have been paid because of the provision of the Act where a right of cancellation existed. The provisions of this section are reinforced by a clause within the policy which draws the insurer's rights to the attention of the policyholder. This does assume of course that the policyholder is financially capable of reimbursing the insurer.

The intent behind the Road Traffic Act was to protect the innocent third party involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. The certificate was designed to permit checks to be made to ensure that when a vehicle is being used appropriate insurance exists. To facilitate this, the certificate contains certain information which should, for example, allow a policeman to make an on-the-spot decision. The format of the certificate is controlled by the Motor Vehicles (Third Party Risks) Regulations 1972, which require that it be printed in black on white paper and contain the following information:

  • registration mark or description of the vehicle;
  • name of the policyholder;
  • effective date of the commencement of the insurance;
  • date of expiry of the insurance;
  • persons or classes of persons entitled to drive;
  • limitations as to use.

This is to be followed by authorisation by the appropriate Insurer.

The 1972 Act, however, makes it clear that statutory cover may not be conditional upon:

  • the age or physical or mental condition of the person driving the vehicle;
  • the condition of the vehicle;
  • the number of persons that vehicle carries;
  • the weight or physical characteristics of the goods that the vehicle carries;
  • the times at which or the areas within which the vehicle is used;
  • the horsepower or cylinder capacity or value of the vehicle;
  • the carrying on the vehicle of any particular apparatus;
  • the carrying on the vehicle of any particular means of identification other than any means of identification required under the Vehicles (Excise) Act 1971.

Link added

Edited by Rocket

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I had a look at my 165 training notes regarding actual printed receipt of the insurance policy and not just a call over the phone at the roadside last night, and here is a reasonable explanation of it online from an insurance company;

Link added

So does this mean that when I bought my car a few years back and insured it over the phone to drive back home, I was technically driving without insurance? That's a very common scenario and if this is the case, why is it so widespread?

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On the point about an uninsured driver phoning up to get insurance at the roadside; I did my Sec. 165 training recently and we were told not to accept this. There is a clause (I think it is in the Road Traffic Regulations Act, but I notes are at home so I can update later) that states insurance is only valid once the actual printed policy or cover note is received at the registered address of the insured.

But what happens if insurance companies do not send out the printed policy as well as certificate via post? My insurance is with co-operative, and I never received anything through the post. As soon as I entered my card details and paid the £380 deposit, I was given a username and password to log in on the website, and in the document store immediately were my temporary certificate of motor insurance (permanent certificate for the remainder of the policy available after 45 days) as well as the printed terms and conditions of the policy, both in PDF format.

Edited by carty23
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So does this mean that when I bought my car a few years back and insured it over the phone to drive back home, I was technically driving without insurance? That's a very common scenario and if this is the case, why is it so widespread?

Interesting isn't it, I have lost count of the amount of times I've watched drivers get insurance over the phone on programmes such as Road Wars and be allowed to continue on their way since I did that training.

Perhaps sections 147 and 148 haven't been enforced or told to be enforced in the past when there there wasn't so much insurance fraud and/or a total lack of insurance.

The black Rat who did the training did say that insurance companies are deliberately taking a lot longer to send out policies because they are getting fed up with it.

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