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Defective Vehicle Condition Offences

Driving a vehicle with dangerous defects can seriously affect your licence with penalty points totting up easily for each offence. Common offences such as bald tyres, faulty vehicle lights and faulty brakes all carry penalty points and potentially heavy fines.

Before you accept a fixed penalty

With each offence carrying the potential of three penalty points, totting up points to 12 is a real possibility and you risk losing your licence. For example; four bald tyres could disqualify you.

Here at Lanyon Bowdler we can often persuade the prosecution to impose only one set of three points on your driving licence.

Before you accept a fixed penalty, please call the motoring offence team at Lanyon Bowdler.

Section 40a of the road traffic act

These regulations affect both private vehicle users and companies.

A person is guilty of an offence if he uses, causes or permits another person to use a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when:

  • the condition of the motor vehicle or trailer, or of its accessories or equipment, or
  • the purpose for which it is used, or
  • the number of passengers carried by it, or the manner in which they are carried, or
  • the weight, position or distribution of its load, or the manner in which it is secured, is such that the use of the motor vehicle or trailer involves a danger of injury to any person.

Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme

The VDRS (also known as a vehicle defect rectification notice), is used to deal with relatively minor defects, like cracked light lenses, blown bulbs, worn tyres or illegal number plates. It gives you an opportunity to fix any vehicle defects and so avoid prosecution.

VDRS covers a wide range of vehicles including motor vehicles or trailers and caravans towed by vehicles.If you have received a VDRS then you will be given 14 days to rectify the defects and provide evidence you have done so (typically from an MOT centre). Failure to do this will result in prosecution and carry the relevant penalties and fines. A VDRS is a voluntary act by the officer who stopped you. If this is the case, count yourself lucky and get the defects fixed straight away.

Most common dangerous vehicle offences

Faulty Lights

Faulty lights are a common offence, especially rear lights and brake lights as the driver often has no idea the offence is being committed. In most cases a police officer would issue a VDRS (see above) and you would be able to rectify the issue without prosecution.

If you have received a fixed penalty for this offence, please get in touch before accepting it as it is sometimes possible persuade the prosecution otherwise. Also be aware that the highway code states that your lights should be kept clean to ensure other drivers can see you.

Worn Tyres

Defective tyre offences are common amongst motorists.Tread depth is critical on tyre tread grooves and it’s important to differentiate between worn tyres and bald tyres. If your tyre is simply worn and moving towards the legal limit, then you do not have to accept a fixed penalty and you would be given time to replace the tyres in question via the VDRS.

Bald Tyres

Bald tyres on a vehicle are a more serious offence and refers to the tyre treading being below the legal limit. 

You would receive points for bald tyres and each defective tyre can attract three points. If you have four bald tyres then you would be looking at 12 points and possibly losing your licence. Each offence also carries a fine to a maximum of £2,500, so in the worst-case scenario you could be fined £10,000 and lose your licence.

If you are facing prosecution for more than one bald tyre, please get in touch straight away. Here at Lanyon Bowdler our traffic offence solicitors have experience in arguing such cases and can often have you points tally reduced.

Defective brakes on a vehicle

It’s your responsibility to ensure your brakes work correctly and pose no risk to the safety of you, your passengers or the general public. Only one part of your braking system has to be proven as faulty for you to be found guilty of driving with defective brakes. You could be penalised with three points and fined up to £5,000.

Other common defective vehicle parts

There are a number of other potential offences such as steering, or exhaust faults or lose bumpers etc. Again, each offence is treated separately and can attract three penalty points and a fine.

Totting up points with faulty vehicle offences is relatively easy and if you are in this position you should call us at your earliest convenience. We are specialists in legal advice for motoring offences and we can often argue for a lesser point tally and reduced fines.

Being caught driving a defective vehicle can be stressful and worrying. No matter what your circumstances are, get in touch so we can start helping you. Complete our enquiry form today and one of specialist driving offence laywers will get in touch with you


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