Driving Without Due Care and Attention
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.