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Driving Without Due Care and Attention

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 17 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Careless Driving Reckless Driving

Forming part of the Road Traffic Act 1988 it is an offence to be guilty of ‘driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention’.

According to the Act, Careless Driving Includes:

  • Driving a vehicle on a road without due care and attention,
  • Driving a vehicle on a public road without consideration for other road users.

Driving with due care and attention involves all drivers, whatever their standard of driving or status and expects them to show a reasonable standard of care and attention to the road they are using and to other drivers using that road.

The law is laid down in this way to include all cases of bad driving including those that fall slightly short of reckless driving. A charge of careless driving can be made in many situations, including when there is a lack of attention, judgment or concentration, or due to a mistake being made.

If you are stopped for bad driving, or have been involved in an accident as a result of your road conduct, you may be charged with one of two offences:

  • Careless Driving:This is when you drive in a way that the police do not believe is representative of a reasonable and careful driver.
  • Dangerous DrivingThis is when you drive in a way that is hazardous to people or property. Dangerous Driving Offences will not be discussed further in this article, but are listed below:
  • Dangerous Driving
  • Manslaughter while driving a vehicle
  • Causing death by dangerous driving

It is advisable that you contact a solicitor immediately if you are charged with one of the dangerous driving offences above.

What Kind of Things Can I be Charged for Under Careless Driving?

As you can imagine, the list of offences can vary dramatically – someone missing a traffic light turning green because they are singing along to their favourite tune a little too excitedly can end up under the same charge as someone who loses control of their vehicle because they are busy trying to change a CD, or light a cigarette, and hits a traffic post.

So it’s clear that this offence has a large area of definition. Given that it’s virtually impossible to measure ‘due care’, how does a court decide if your actions amounted to careless driving? Whether or not someone has driven carelessly requires someone else to make a judgment and will depend entirely on the particular circumstances of the case.

It has been known for courts to pursue and win cases, where they have claimed that a motorist has driven without due care and attention if their driving has not followed the standard that the court believe would have been exercised by a competent and reasonable driver.

What Happens if I am Charged?

If you are charged with careless driving and you are to be prosecuted, your case will be heard in the Magistrates Court. You should be notified of this within 14 days of the alleged offence.

What Will Happen to me? Will I Lose my License?

The penalty for careless driving can be a fine, between 3 and 9 Penalty Points on your license and disqualification if the court deems it appropriate.

You Mentioned Other Offences Earlier. What are they?

The list of offences under the Road Traffic Act for Careless Driving includes:
  • Driving without due care and attention – 3-9 penalty points
  • Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users – 3-9 points
  • There are other careless driving offences involving drink and drugs, all of which carry 3-11 penalty points and possible disqualification should the court think it appropriate. In these situations the offence will also stay visible on the offender’s license for a minimum of 11 years.

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[Add a Comment]
Vinny - Your Question:
I was driving and my car skidded due to A patch of black ice on the road. Despite the officer and the person who called the emergency services commenting that the road was very icy I have been charged with driving without due care and attention. I know that the weather is not a factor but surely some consideration should be taken to the weather conditions at the time of the accident?

Our Response:
We can't comment on this as we don't know how fast you were driving or what type of road etc
NoPenaltyPoints - 18-May-17 @ 2:31 PM
I was driving and my car skidded due to A patch of black ice on the road. Despite the officer and the person who called the emergency services commenting that the road was very icy i have been charged with driving without due care and attention. I know that the weather is not a factor but surely some consideration should be taken to the weather conditions at the time of the accident?
Vinny - 17-May-17 @ 6:22 PM
I have come into work today to a phone call to my Director and a follow on email from a Police Office claiming that he witnessed me driving without due care and attention yesterday, and he has reported a Police Incident for the same.The information he gave my director is (from my recollection of the events) is incorrect, he has said that I cut him up and I had to brake as cars in front of me were observing the speed limit - I neither cut him up, and I didn't brake for a further 400 metres for an island.He wants me to call him tomorrow, and I am very worried as to what he wants - As I wasn't stopped, he was driving an old 4x4, towing a trailer that was a lot wider than his car, not marked as Police, and he was alone.I was not stopped, can he take this matter further?As it would just be his word against mine?
T - 10-May-17 @ 2:35 PM
Involved in minor RTC at roundabout whereby the car infront went to pull away and broke suddenly and I went into back of car. Police were called because witness was driving a company car. He was seen to by paramedics I believe by the advice of his dad for insurance purposes. Recieved 3 months later a charge of driving without due course and attention. Would really appreciate some advice as I believe this to be a minor Road traffic accident and not a chargeable offence.
Ben - 28-Apr-17 @ 2:23 PM
Cal - Your Question:
I was in an accident where I failed to spot the give way lines. My partner ended up in hospital however the other car which struck us as a result of my not giving way were unharmed. I am obviously the guilty party but have never ever done anything like this before and it was a total freak accident on a quiet road. What am I to expect next?

Our Response:
The other party will probably claim for damage to their vehicle via their insurance. The police will only take action if they think your driving was careless or dangerous.
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Apr-17 @ 12:47 PM
I was in an accident where I failed to spot the give way lines. My partner ended up in hospital however the other car which struck us as a result of my not giving way were unharmed. I am obviously the guilty party but have never ever done anything like this before and it was a total freak accident on a quiet road. What am I to expect next?
Cal - 17-Apr-17 @ 9:46 PM
I recently received a letter stating that I had driven through a red light and to provide my details, which I did. I then, after a few weeks receive an other later saying that the light had been red for a long time when I went through it and will be prosecuted now, rather that receive the fixed fee and points. Can they do this?.....change their mind and I cannot find anything on the timings of a red light changing the type of offence.....
Rubes - 16-Mar-17 @ 6:38 PM
Ive had 3 points on my lience which completely came off my leince april 2016. And also had a education course and i had an accident on an A road where i went to pull out from.the inside lane checked my mirror didnt see a car in the outside lane went to pull out and then saw the side kf the car in my driver window went to pull back in and lose control and span out and ive been reported for careless driving just wondered what i would get.
Miss marion denley - 4-Feb-17 @ 8:39 PM
I was stopped on my way to work by the police who said a marked police vehicle had provided my number and that I had overtaken a slow moving vehicleand pulled in causing the vehicle to break suddenly to avoid collision or that is what I thought they were saying. I said I may have overtaken a vehicle and pulled in sharper than I normally would as I was close to a bend but to be honest I couldn't remember the incident. I was shocked at the time and tried to think what had happened. When the papers came through almost 3 months later it stated that I had overtaken a slow moving vehicle in the face of oncoming traffic and a marked police car had had to take evasive action to avoid collision and I can't believe I would not have been aware of this. I have been sick with worry about this for 2 months waiting to hear and I really want this to be over as soon as possible as I need to drive for my job. I am over 60 with 3 points on my license for exceeding the speed limit that are 3 years in August. Please can you advise me if I just plead guilty if I am likely to get more than 3 points on my license. Thanks
Fay - 30-Jan-17 @ 1:24 PM
I was driving my scooter to work when a cyclist cut me off. I slammed on brakes and managed to stay upright. I went up to the cyclist and told him to watch how he cycled. He then started waving his hand at me as I slowed down to have a go at him and I literally slapped his hand away. He was wearing a helmet cam and I have been contacted by Met Pol. Do you have any advice. I'm certain he will not have submitted the full video showing him cutting me off. Or the video showing him waving his hand at me. They are investigating me for "Driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place. Section 3 of the Road Trafic Act, 1988" I should add I was initially contacted by post but the reg number was certainly not my vehicle. i phoned the met pol and they said "yes we made an error, we will resend with correct reg number". Please advise / help. :(
london27m - 25-Jan-17 @ 1:18 PM
My partner was driving home from work when the police stopped him said they had received phone calls saying he Had been swerving on the road. He explained that he had been tired (newborn baby at home) and was going home to sleep they cautioned him and told him to go home to bed. What is the possible outcome from this?
LaurenW95 - 6-Jan-17 @ 4:55 PM
Lou - Your Question:
Regarding my partner and his friend driving over the limit.Yes, neither men was charged and let out after a couple of hours. But nothing else was said by the police. So are either men looking at fines? Points on partners licence?

Our Response:
We really can't say what the police will do. Driving without a licence can incur a fine of up to £1000 plus 3 to 6 points when a licence applied for. Obviously as he had no licence he could also be penalised for driving without insurance another fine plus potentially 3 points. Speeding would also attract a fine plus 3 points depending on the level at which he was speeding. If the case goes to court the judge might impose different penalties. Allowing someone else to drive without insurance can incur the same penalties.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Jan-17 @ 2:14 PM
Regarding my partner and his friend driving over the limit.. Yes, neither men was charged and let out after a couple of hours. But nothing else was said by the police. So are either men looking at fines? Points on partners licence?
Lou - 4-Jan-17 @ 10:58 PM
Lou - Your Question:
Hi. My partner allowed his friend to drive his car; bearing in mind his friend has no licence!! He drove over the speed limit and was caught and both arrested. Both are very stupid, no excuses for them and very lucky no one was hurt. Both was let out without charge. But will any more come of this? Court? Points? Just need to know where we standThanks

Our Response:
Your post said they were let off without charge?
NoPenaltyPoints - 4-Jan-17 @ 12:16 PM
Hi. My partner allowed his friend to drive his car; bearing in mind his friend has no licence!! He drove over the speed limit and was caught and both arrested. Both are very stupid, no excuses for them and very lucky no one was hurt. Both was let out without charge. But will any more come of this? Court? Points? Just need to know where we stand Thanks
Lou - 3-Jan-17 @ 12:46 PM
Hi, my boyfriend accidentally scraped another car when reversing on a night with thick fog, on a dimly lit road. He wasn't under the influence or changing a CD at the time. He has since received a notice from the owner of the scraped car that she's reported him to the police. This is despite the fact that he's agreed to pay for damages via his insurance. Does he have any means of rebuttal?
Sam - 29-Dec-16 @ 12:43 PM
Hi, I had an incident a couple weeks ago with another driver who was driving very close to me around some back roads. I was indicating to go into a parking spot and had started to reverse into the spot when this driver behind me zoomed into the spot at an angle where he had half his car stuck out. I got out the car and started shouting at him and then i noticed he had hit my car when doing this inconsiderate act. when i got back into my car and drove off i'm pretty sure i scraped his car (as he had hit my car when zooming into the spot). When i said to the man that he had hit my car he just laughed in my face and said he hadn't. I have now received a notice of intended prosecution from the police for driving without due care and attention. I would like to know what going to happen to me? will i have to go to court or is it sorted out over letters? Also what sort of fine will i be facing? Does the driver who's prosecuting me have to provide evidence to make this claim valid?
WF - 27-Dec-16 @ 5:44 PM
AP - Your Question:
One morning in october while in work & driving my 7.5 ton lorry, I was turning right and motorcyclist coming on opp direction and he lost control and come off his bike, police attended and asked me if I hit him and I said no, police checked my van and didnt find anything so I drove back, police said I could be charged for careless driving, how long before they charge me, my licence is clean, will I get a ban.

Our Response:
The police have up to 6 months in which to initiate further proceedings.
NoPenaltyPoints - 19-Dec-16 @ 12:06 PM
One morning in october while in work & driving my 7.5 ton lorry, i was turning right and motorcyclist coming on opp direction and he lost control and come off his bike, police attended and asked me if i hit him and i said no, police checked my van and didnt find anything so i drove back, police said i could be charged for careless driving, how long before they charge me, my licence is clean, will i get a ban.
AP - 17-Dec-16 @ 1:49 PM
J - Your Question:
Hi, I'm Irish and recently moved to a new area and was trying to find my way round keeping and eye on the satnav and what have you when I didn't see a red light In Time, I braked but the roads were greasy and the surface was slippy so the car locked up and I ended up t boning a car coming across the junction, resulting in the other car being a write off and mine the same, I have a full clean irish driving licence and am 25 yrs old I was wondering what will happen when I go to court will I be dine for careless driving or dangerous driving and will I lose my licence possibly?I have no previous speeding offences and have never been involved in a collision before,

Our Response:
We really can't say what the courts will decide. This depends on what the police decide to charge you with (careless driving, dangerous driving, driving without due care and attention) - the penalties range from points plus a fine right through to a ban, although it's unlikely you will be given a prison sentence. It would be worth seeking the advice of a motoring lawyer if you feel you can mitigate this in anyway.
NoPenaltyPoints - 13-Dec-16 @ 11:27 AM
Probably should have mentioned this happened in Liverpool in the UK! Looking forward to hearing a reply or anyone who has been in a similar situation Iv been driving 8 years without incident and cannot do without my licence!would it be wise to also use a barrister for the court appearance and perhaps ask my boss for a letter saying I need my licence to commute to work? Thanks j
J - 11-Dec-16 @ 9:05 PM
Hi, I'm Irish and recently moved to a new area and was trying to find my way round keeping and eye on the satnav and what have you when I didn't see a red light In Time, I braked but the roads were greasy and the surface was slippy so the car locked up and i ended up t boning a car coming across the junction,resulting in the other car being a write off and mine the same, I have a full clean irish driving licence and am 25 yrs old I was wondering what will happen when I go to court will I be dine for careless driving or dangerous driving and will I lose my licence possibly?I have no previous speeding offences and have never been involved in a collision before,
J - 11-Dec-16 @ 3:40 PM
Hatter - Your Question:
Hello, I am looking for some advise, as I believe that I did not commit a offence.I was driving a large Lorry down a lane, following my sat nav directionsThat was more suitable for smaller vehicles.There was a incident The police was called and I have received a letterFor driving without due care and attentionGiving me 3 choicesOption 1 Book a driver awareness course,Option 2 decline the course offer and accept the conditional offer of fixed penalty Option 3 request a court hearing.I did tell the police, I did mean to drive down this lane, as I was following my sat nav,Can I fight and win this case, has it been known beforeThat a case like this has happened before.Thanks for your replys.

Our Response:
No, usually if a road is unsuitable for large vehicles, it will be indicated by a sign or clear to the naked eye. The fact your Sat Nav directed you this way will not be considered a good reason to reject a penalty.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-Dec-16 @ 12:22 PM
hwyaden - Your Question:
Hi, I've been caught driving through a red light and driving at 59mph in a 40mph zone. I have no defence - I wasn't paying attention to my speed and really thought I could get through the light on amber. I've received a letter through the post asking who was driving at the time. Does this mean I will get a fixed penalty notice, or is there still a chance I may be sent to court? I am the only driver in the house so I'm terrified I'll get a driving ban :( :( :(

Our Response:
We really can't say for sure but 59mph is too high to be considered for speed awareness course. A summons would normally be issued for speeds above 66mph but combined with running the red light you may be looking at a court summons.
NoPenaltyPoints - 7-Dec-16 @ 12:33 PM
Hi, I've been caught driving through a red light and driving at 59mph in a 40mph zone. I have no defence - I wasn't paying attention to my speed and really thought I could get through the light on amber. I've received a letter through the post asking who was driving at the time. Does this mean I will get a fixed penalty notice, or is there still a chance I may be sent to court? I am the only driver in the house so I'm terrified I'll get a driving ban :( :( :(
hwyaden - 6-Dec-16 @ 3:08 PM
Hello, I am looking for some advise, as I believe that I did not commit a offence. I was driving a large Lorry down a lane, following my sat nav directions That was more suitable for smaller vehicles. There was a incident The police was called and I have received a letter For driving without due care and attention Giving me 3 choices Option 1 Book a driver awareness course, Option 2 decline the course offer and accept the conditionaloffer of fixed penalty Option 3 requesta court hearing. I did tell the police, I did mean to drive down this lane, as I was following my sat nav, Can I fight and win this case, has it been known before That a case like this has happened before.. Thanks for your replys..
Hatter - 5-Dec-16 @ 6:05 PM
vv - Your Question:
Hello, i was issued with a nip for red light offence. I am a disabled person who has several carers so I cannot be sure who was driving the car and of course none of them are admitting guilt. I wrote to the police twice on first attempt asked for evidence which was 3 photos which were extremely unclear and one did not even look like my car. second letter was me stating that I have tried my best to identify the driver but I cannot and I enlisted 3 possible drivers. the police wrote me back and said this is not good enough and I must sign the form stating who was driving. I am unable to do this as I cannot write down 3 peoples name and I have only 6 days to respond again and I am completely stressed out and do not know what to do. please can I get some help.

Our Response:
You cannot be forced to plead guilty but you should be prepared for the case to go to court. You may need to provide some evidence that you were elsewhere or a passenger at the time of the offence etc
NoPenaltyPoints - 15-Nov-16 @ 2:32 PM
hello, i was issued with a nip for red light offence. i am a disabled person who has several carers so i cannot be sure who was driving the car and of course none of them are admitting guilt. i wrote to the police twice on first attempt asked for evidence which was 3 photos which were extremely unclear and one did not even look like my car. second letter was me stating that i have tried my best to identify the driver but i cannot and i enlisted 3 possible drivers. the police wrote me back and said this is not good enough and i must sign the form stating who was driving. i am unable to do this as i cannot write down 3 peoples name and i have only 6 days to respond again and i am completely stressed out and do not know what to do. please can i get some help.
vv - 14-Nov-16 @ 1:33 PM
Conker2008 - Your Question:
Hi sorry for adding to an old thread but hope you can advise. The other night whilst leaving work I turned right onto a dual carriageway and unfortunately was stuck on the drivers door by a moped rider that I only spotted at the last second. From viewing works CCTV the junction was extremely dark, you can clearly see me braking towards the junction as I was looking for vehicles, the lights on the moped were very dim and there are trees on the road side that hinder view to the right.As the emergency services were called I was breathalysed at the scene , which was negative, and told that there may be a case for driving without due care, but not charged.Thankfully the rider seems to have only suffered ligament damage and all Insureance seems to be going through (with me at fault).Can you advise, from reading the posts I'm I correct in assuming if the police are going to prosecute I have to be formally notified in 14 days? Is this offence always a court hearing or is there a FPN option? and if the case goes to court is it worth mentioning the mitigating circumstances (would it alter the amount of points / fine) or am I best to simply plead and take it on the chin?Thanks in advance for any help.

Our Response:
No the 14 day rule will not apply as you were identified as the driver at the scene. The police have up to 6 months in which to initiate any further action, which may or may not be a court summons. We can't tell you whether your mitigating circumstances will be accepted, you'd need to give full details to a motoring lawyer for this.
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Nov-16 @ 11:52 AM
Hi sorry for adding to an old thread but hope you can advise.The other night whilst leaving work I turned right onto a dual carriageway and unfortunately was stuck on the drivers door by a moped rider that I only spotted at the last second.From viewing works CCTV the junction was extremely dark, you can clearly see me braking towards the junction as I was looking for vehicles, the lights on the moped were very dim and there are trees on the road side that hinder view to the right. As the emergency services were called I was breathalysed at the scene , which was negative, and told that there may be a case for driving without due care, but not charged. Thankfully the rider seems to have only suffered ligament damage and all Insureance seems to be going through (with me at fault). Can you advise, from reading the posts I'm I correct in assuming if the police are going to prosecute I have to be formally notified in 14 days?Is this offence always a court hearing or is there a FPN option? and if the case goes to court is it worth mentioning the mitigating circumstances (would it alter the amount of points / fine) or am I best to simply plead and take it on the chin? Thanks in advance for any help.
Conker2008 - 9-Nov-16 @ 4:49 PM
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