Who can request personal details?
A police officer or an officer authorised under the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) can ask any person they reasonably suspect to be the driver or owner of a motor vehicle, or anyone who may be able to assist with a suspected road traffic offence, questions to ascertain their name and personal details [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 40V(2)].
Additionally, a police officer can ask any person questions to obtain information that may lead to the identification of the person who was the driver or owner of a motor vehicle on a particular occasion or particular time [Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 74AB].
It is an offence to fail to comply to a request for personal details or to provide false or misleading information or evidence. The maximum penalty for this offence is $5000 [s 40V(4)]. It is a defence to the offence of failing to provide details of a business address if the person can establish they did not have a business address or that their business address was not connected (either directly or indirectly) with road transport.
It is also an offence to fail, without a reasonable excuse, to answer a question relating to the identification of the person who was the driver or owner of a motor vehicle [Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 74AB (2)]. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $1 250 or 3 months imprisonment [s 74AB(2)].
What information can be requested?
The following information can be requested by a police officer (or an authorised officer) under s 40V:
- full name
- date of birth
- residential address
- business address
[Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 40V(1)]
The police or an authorised officer can also stop a vehicle and ask the driver who the owner is, the type of material being carried and details of the current or intended trip of the vehicle (e.g. intended route and destination) [s 40X].
Police also have the power to give general directions in order to regulate traffic.
Can identification be required?
If a police officer or authorised officer suspects on reasonable grounds that a personal detail provided is false or misleading, they may request the person to provide evidence of the correctness of the detail [s 40V(3)].
The Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) requires a driver to produce a licence immediately if asked by the police. If not carrying the licence it must be taken to a police station within 48 hours. The penalty for failing to comply is a maximum fine of $1250 [s 96].
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.