Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 178: Taking a Vehicle without Authority
A person who is charged with taking and and driving away a vehicle without having either the consent of the owner or other lawful authority, or knowing that a vehicle has been taken in such a way, drives it or allows himself to be carried in or on it without such consent or authority, is guilty of an offence.
Unless a court is satisfied that the accused acted in the reasonable belief that he had lawful authority, or in the reasonable belief that the owner would, in the circumstances of the case, have given consent if he had been asked for it, the accused shall be liable to be convicted of the offence of “taking and driving a motor vehicle”.
A person who falls foul of S178 Road Traffic Act 1988 otherwise known as “taking and driving away a motor vehicle” has the defence open to him that he was not aware that the driver of the vehicle had not given permission for the vehicle to be used.
A normal example of “taking and driving away“ without the owners consent is a teenager taking his parents car for a drive.The other normal one where a S178 Road Traffic Act is charged is where someone is carried in a stolen vehicle.