The liberty of the individual

The liberty of the individual to engage in dangerous but otherwise harmless pastimes


Beware! Those involved with racing or 'dangerous' driving (or riding), where the public can gain access, including the infield and circuit or arena are liable to prosecution.


Thrills, spills and the challenge of brinkmanship


As a result of Chief Police Officers' requests for wider powers to cover off-road situations (i.e. not on the highway), the Road Traffic Act's Off Road Regulations came about. The Road Traffic Act was extended to cover off-highway.
The other side of the coin means that otherwise law-abiding organisers and participants in such events are potentially criminalized; even when this is on private property and in fenced off areas. This can include:
Vehicles not meeting road going specification
Driven or ridden without appropriate licences
Driving in a manner or at a speed not permitted on the road
However, the Off Road Regulations do provide for dispensation to legitimate auto and related events. Many are covered by the associated recognised Governing Bodies and their rules.
But these are just the tip of the iceberg: there is a huge amount of motorsport from the grass roots level upwards; as well as all the commercial activities such as experience days, stunt and driving displays, exhibitions, museums, manufacturers, moving vehicle displays, farmers with quad biking and 4x4 activities, country estate safaris. All involve mechanically propelled vehicles in a public place, the risks are different to everyday life and there is the challenge of brinkmanship, in non-standard or highly modified vehicles.
At the introduction of the Association of Authorising Bodies in 1992 (and due to the wide variety of activities covered by the IOPD) the IOPD produced the Motor Vehicles Off Road Events Regulation Discussion Document. This clarified the new legislation and the common agreed interpretations and a consensus of understanding how the legislation would be implemented on a day-to-day basis. This guidance document was widely acclaimed by Chief Police Officers, who also forwarded it to other interested parties.
The IOPD was identified by the DoT (as it was then) as the best experts to represent the commercial sector and to introduce motor sports risk management systems to all forms of auto leisure activities.
For further details regarding legal precedent, please go to the liberty of the individual and 'Volenti Non Fit Injura'.
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What is an Authorising Governing Body?

In 1992, 27 organising groups applied to the Secretary of State and under Statutory Instrument No 1370 eleven were made ‘Authorising’ or ‘Governing Bodies’, able to inspect, approve and sanction off-highway venues and issue Authorising Permits exempting all involved from prosecution for the most serious motoring offences.

These eleven organisations or Authorising Governing Bodies are today still the only official organisations that can by law issue permits of Authorisation. In addition to The International Organisation of Professional Drivers, they are:

-The Royal Automobile Club (now the Motor Sports Association or MSA)
-The Amateur Motor Cycle Association Ltd
-The Association of Land Rover Clubs Ltd
-The Auto Cycle Union Ltd
-The British Schoolboy Motorcycle Association
-The National Autograss Sport Association Ltd
-NORA 92 Ltd
-National Traction Engine Trust
-The Youth Motorcycle Sports Association (YMSA) Ltd
-The Scottish Auto Cycle Union Ltd

If you would like to receive a copy of ‘A Guide to the Regulation of Off-road Events’, or ‘What is an Authorisation Permit and When is it Needed?’ please get in touch.