Road Traffic Act

The Road Traffic Act is the law which governs the use of vehicles on the roads, and therefore affects car insurance, motorcycle insurance, van insurance, and any other form of motorised vehicle. Some parts of the Act are more to do with motor insurance than others, and complete Act is divided into Sections as follows:

Part 1

This deals with road safety, and includes descriptions of driving offences and convictions, together with information on seat belts and safety helmets. This section also deals with use of vehicles away from public roads, and the following text should be noted:

34.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, if without lawful authority a person drives a motor vehicle:

  1. on to or upon any common land, moorland or land of any other description, not being land forming part of a road, or
  2. on any road being a footpath or bridleway,

he is guilty of an offence.

The above information is particularly relevant to motorcyclists.

See our notes on convicted drivers for more information on this subject.

Part 2

This section deals with construction and use rules, including rules on design, tyres, testing and maintenance, particularly in relation to commercial vehicles, including vans.

Part 3

This section relates to the licensing of drivers. It includes information on driving tests, physical fitness and disqualification.

Part 4

This section relates to the licensing requirements for heavy goods vehicles.

Part 5

This section deals with driving instruction and approval of driving instructors.

Part 6

This is the most important section so far as motor insurance is concerned. It sets out the compulsory requirements for the minimum cover and what a motor insurance policy needs to include to be compliant with the law. It also sets out what information should be included on a certificate of motor insurance. This section also includes the requirements of motor insurance policies to include provision for payment of emergency treatment fees for hospital treatment of traffic casualties.

Part 7

This is a miscellaneous section, and includes details of police powers to stop vehicles, duties of various parties after an accident, and the legal treatment of specific types of vehicle (hover vehicles, trams, railway locomotives etc.)

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