Home | Media | News | Constitutional Court upholds the obligation of a vehicle’s owner to reveal the identity of the person at the wheel
Constitutional Court upholds the obligation of a vehicle’s owner to reveal the identity of the person at the wheel
On 18 November 2014, the Constitutional Court of Moldova undertook a constitutional review of the Article 234 of the Contravention Code (complaints no. 53a/2014), which compiles the owner of a vehicle to disclose the identity of the person who was entrusted by him/her to drive it, the contrary leading to the owner being sanctioned.
The author of the complaint, the MP Simion Furdui considers that contraventional liability of the vehicle’s owner for failing to disclose the requested information infringes upon the right of the person to not testify against him/herself or family (the right to silence), as well as the presumption of innocence. In his view, this is contrary to Article 26 para. (1) of the Constitution.
The Court noted that the right to silence is an element of the right to defence, as part of a fair trial. At the same time, in line with the relevant ECtHR case-law, the Constitutional Court observed that the right to silence is not an absolute right.
Hence, the Court stated that the road traffic security is a major public interest and ensuring it is a positive obligation of the state.
Therefore, the Court noted that the obligation to provide information on the identity of the person driving the means of transport on public roads is an element of the process of ensuring road traffic security and, implicitly, an element of protecting traffic participants.
The Court mentioned that while regulating ownership relationships over the vehicle and of road traffic security, the lawmaker is entitled to institute certain obligations towards the owner and, respectively, the resulting liability when failing to comply.
Judgment of the Court
Stemming from the above reasoning, Constitutional Court rejected as ungrounded the complaint lodged by the MP Simion Furdui and recognised as constitutional the Article 234 of the Contravention Code of the Republic of Moldova.