Let's say Bob owns a vehicle and his wife uses the car. The wife doesn't come to a complete stop at a red light and the traffic camera catches it. They issue a ticket in Bob's name as he owns the car but he did not commit the traffic infraction. Bob has proof he was not driving that day. Would Bob still be responsible for the traffic infraction his wife committed? Can the authorities compel Bob to say who was driving? What happens if he doesn't know who was driving?


3 Answers 3


Under Florida law (316.0083), an officer can view the infraction and issue a notification of infraction "to the registered owner of the motor vehicle involved in the violation". Thereupon, the owner has the right to remedies under §318.14, which include arguing that the owner did not commit the infraction. The camera evidence may sufficiently prove that an infraction was committed, but not necessarily that the vehicle owner committed the infraction. This is a civil matter, so the official who disposes of the appeal must determine whether it is more likely than not that the owner committed the infraction. That effectively means that in the face of evidence that the owner committed an infraction, some evidence is needed to show that the owner did not commit the infraction. Thus proof that he was not driving (I suppose witnesses to his whereabouts in Timbuktu on the day in question) would suffice, and there is no requirement that the owner prove someone else did the deed.


In most states in the US, the registered owner of a vehicle is responsible for any traffic violations that occur while the vehicle is being driven, regardless of who was actually behind the wheel. This is known as the "owner liability" principle.

However, if Bob can provide proof that he was not driving the car at the time of the infraction and that his wife was, he may be able to transfer the liability to her. This may involve providing evidence such as witness statements, security camera footage, or travel records.

As for the authorities compelling Bob to say who was driving, they may request this information, but Bob is not required to incriminate himself or his spouse. If Bob does not know who was driving the car at the time of the infraction, he can simply state that he does not have that information.

In conclusion, it depends on the specific laws and regulations of the state in question and the evidence available, but in general, the registered owner of a vehicle may be held responsible for traffic violations committed by someone else using the car, but they are not required to incriminate themselves or their spouse.


Bob, as the car's registered keeper, will get a Notice of Intended Prosecution which stipulates he has to name the driver at the relevant time.

Although he cannot be compelled to name her, he commits an offence if he doesn't do do so - unless he satisfies the "due diligence" statutory defence at section 172(4), Road Trafic Act 1988:

A shall not be guilty of an offence ... if he shows that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .