DV/DP Number Plate – To arrest or not to arrest

Respectfully, permit me to add my view to the discussion on the above subject.
The use of DV and DP plates is governed by the Road Traffic Act, 683/04 as amended by Act 761/08 and the Road Traffic Regulations 2012 L I 2180.
DV stands for Defective Vehicle while DP stands for Drive from Port. Both are temporary plates meant to assist the users to carry out a temporary activity, regarding the usage of the vehicle. The DP is valid for ten days and comes with a log book which contains entries with respect to the movement of the vehicle. It must be carried at all times by the driver. The DV is valid for twelve calendar months and may be used on different vehicles at different times. Just like the DP, the DV also comes with a log book which should contain entries regarding the movement of the vehicle and particulars of the driver. The logbook must be carried at all times.
According to regulation 45 of the Road Traffic Act, the following are the persons or reasons why the DP and DV plates may be used.
a. manufacturer of motor vehicles
b. a tester of motor vehicles
c.  a motor vehicle trader
d. a person who intends to commence business as a motor vehicle trader
e. a person authorised by the DVLA to trade in trade
 plates.
f. for the purpose of conducting research and development in the course of the trader’s business.
Further section 50(b) of Act 683 provides that a person who holds a trade licence and uses a motor vehicle on a road for a purpose other than a purpose which has been prescribed by Regulations commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 500 penalty units and not exceeding 1000 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both. Don’t forget a penalty unit is 12gh. You may do the maths for your self because my maths is horribly bad.
HELLO, so my dear colleague officers, our work is straight and simple. Per the above law, we are to look out for people who have not been authorised by the law to use trade plates but who are nonetheless using same in disregard of the law. We are also supposed to look out for people who are using the trade plates for purposes not permitted by the law.
Again we are mandated to look out for people who refuse, fail or neglect to, carry the log book, make a false entry into the log book and/or persons who generally abuse or misuse the trade plates.
So what is a false entry? When one logs in the book that you are driving from Achimota to Mallam via the N1, to test a trade plate vehicle, it means you are supposed to use just that road. If you are found around Nungua or Tema with that entry, then you can be said to have made a false entry in the log book.
If a person is found driving a DV vehicle at 11pm without displaying the number plate as required by law, u don’t arrest the person for driving after 6pm, rather u arrest him for failing to display his trade plates simplicita.
So for instance, whilst on patrols at about 1am you spotted a person using a DV plate,  upon enquiries it came to light that he was from a nightclub. Question: Offence or no offence? Clearly, he is misusing the trade plate. So you are not arresting him for driving after 6pm, but for misusing the trade plate. You are absolutely protected by the law if you arrest such a person.
Second example : while at Baker or snap check you spotted a trade plate vehicle with five passengers onboard, question – offence or no offence? This is not a yes or no answer. Do you agree with me?
OK, assuming your enquiry revealed the following: the person in the front passenger seat is the intended purchaser of the vehicle who is an unlicensed person, the driver is a friend to the buyer and he is a licensed driver, the three at the back consist of the seller, an electrician and a mechanic. In this case there is no offence committed. Surprised right?
There is no offence because the vehicle is insured to carry five persons, all the persons in the vehicle have various roles to play in the sale and purchase of the vehicle. On the other hand, if it can be proved that at least one person has nothing to do with the sale and purchase of the vehicle, then an offence of misuse lies against the driver.
Also where the persons in the vehicle are said to be going to or coming from a funeral, wedding, church or mosque, market or any social or private event in contravention of the provisions above, then an offence of misuse of the trade plate has occasioned.
So my view is that the signal in question is not barring any officer from arresting a trade plate user.
The law on this issue is palpably clear, we as officers only need to acquaint ourselves with it and we are safe in our engagement with the general public.
The signal as I understand it, came about because our wanton disregard for the law and the abuse of the Human Rights of the citizenry we are supposed to protect is fast gaining weight and thus putting the integrity of our dear Service into disrepute, in the eyes of right thinking members of the society. Let’s watch our steps.
All mistakes and errors are mine.Thanks very much for your attention.
CPL ALHASSAN DRAMANI
Cmttd Accra
 
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