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Driving Without Due Care and Attention

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 6 Dec 2016 | 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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
I was stopped for driving with undue care and attention beginning of June and told police would be in touch within a week. Just received a 3 point penalty or course 20th September is this legal 3 1/2 months later
Travis - 21-Sep-16 @ 1:44 PM
My husband recently had an accident where he collided with the vehicle in front on a very busy dual carriageway where a vehicle in front of the vehicle he hit suddenly turned off right, even though there is no cut out to do this, so the vehicle my husband hit stopped abruptly. My husband has been offered a driver alertness course as an alternative to prosecution, but the course costs £130! Could this offence be dealt with as a fixed penalty instead?
N/A - 3-Sep-16 @ 3:55 PM
Hi there! I am a bus driver in London and a few months ago at a trafic light I touched the rear wheel of a bike. Now I got a summons in which I am asked to plead guilty or not guilty for driving without due care and attention Can you please advise me what to do Marian.
Bus driver - 26-Jul-16 @ 7:55 PM
Hi, my friend was pulled over last night for driving without due care and attention (taking some bends a bit too fast and generally approx 5-10 miles over speed limit in a 30 zone). The officers gave him a fine and 3 points but when he went to the station today to hand over his documents he was told the diver awareness course is usually an option as well, only the officer had already processed the ticket so it was too late and he no longer gets the choice. Should the officers in the car have given him the choice at the time? It seems dodgy to me, especially as a first time offender the course is usually the better option?
riverw - 24-Jul-16 @ 10:51 PM
Hi i had a collision last week on a residential road and resulted me crashing into a wall, telephone box and a hedge and finally stopping in someones driveway. The car was a write off. i stayed at the scene, i have held my liscence for 5 years, but already have 6 points and received a NIP for careless driving from the police there and then. what would be the likely outcome, as i dont want to be disqualified, there were no witnesses or injuries but damage to the property
aaasaas - 15-Jul-16 @ 11:27 AM
I was sitting at a red light Ready to turn right There's traffic lights to my left and right Plus mine own lights 3 way traffic lights all together The left and right traffic lights turn red My Light turns green I move forward just about to turn right When the car on the right never stops and ploys into my drivers side?? Jumping a red light No broken bones thankfully But really shocked and stunned The police say it's a glitch in the lights Yet a independent witness said my light was green and the other person was at fault What do you do in a case like this?? The police backs the other driver by saying its a glitch in the lights Lights were never checked by police The other person denied running a red light What can I do ?? Btw This happened in NI
Wandering star - 7-Jul-16 @ 11:25 PM
Lil&laumum - Your Question:
Hi, I was involved in a car accident 5 weeks ago and a guy went into the back of me @ 50mph and it resulted in me having a herniated disc in my neck. Do you think the police will charge him with driving without due care and attention?

Our Response:
We don't know whether he'll be charged or not, that is up to the police. Have you reported this to your insurance for a claim?
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-Jun-16 @ 10:31 AM
Hi, I was involved in a car accident 5 weeks ago and a guy went into the back of me @ 50mph and it resulted in me having a herniated disc in my neck. Do you think the police will charge him with driving without due care and attention?
Lil&laumum - 19-Jun-16 @ 11:08 PM
Hello. Today I had parked outside a shop in my town. Cars park on what is a slight corner, which doesn't have double yellow lines nor any parking restrictions signs. There are always cars parked here. When leaving I realised it's very awkward to move off because it's a very restricted view over the top of other cars and around the corner (it goes round even more slightly along). Anyway. I'd say for about three minutes and saw that behind me it was empty (I'd been doing left and rear view mirror checks and checking in front throughout that time) and it seemed that ahead it was clear too. I'd been indicating to come out for some time so I then just slowly creeped out, at which point I noticed a black car coming from my right. I think he might have slowed a bit and I accelerated to get out if his way. There was no accident but there was a close incident. Is this careless driving? I was doing frequent checks and it was a bit if a blind area. I feel so guilty for it though. Should I phone the police non emergency line to inform them?
Mick2016 - 18-Jun-16 @ 2:55 PM
C.ridd - Your Question:
I was traveling on a backroad as the sky was turning dark so 90% of vehicles had on lights. I reached a give way at cross road and braked to 15-20 mph before carrying on straight. On side has limited visibility but due to the dark I could see their was no car lights and before the junction I saw the road had no cars. After the junction I was stopped and I have been charged with dangerous driving, I have been driving for under a year and this will likely result in losing my license. Is the dangerous driving correct as I feel it should be careless or even just a cation?

Our Response:
We really aren't sure from the way you've described this, sorry. The penalties for dangerous driving can be anywhere between 3 and 11 points or a ban.
NoPenaltyPoints - 3-Jun-16 @ 10:30 AM
I was traveling on a backroad as the sky was turning dark so 90% of vehicles had on lights. I reached a give way at cross road and braked to 15-20 mph before carrying on straight. On side has limited visibility but due to the dark i could see their was no car lights and before the junction i saw the road had no cars. After the junction i was stopped and i have been charged with dangerous driving, I have been driving for under a year and this will likely result in losing my license. Is the dangerous driving correct as i feel it should be careless or even just a cation?
C.ridd - 2-Jun-16 @ 11:25 AM
My husband had an accident in November 2015 whilst turning into a road the lady ran across and was injured (broken ankle) my husband has now received a letter from magistrates court asking to plead guilty ot not guilty for driving without care and attention .. he is a taxi driver .. what do you think will happen to his licence and taxi badge ?
Iffy - 12-May-16 @ 6:27 PM
Mar68tin - Your Question:
Last night I was charged by a police office for driving without due care and attention. I explained to the officer that I already had 11 points on my licence for speeding and any other points would lilkely result in a ban. I am a salesman and rely on my car. He said he would recommend me for a course so I would avoid points. Will I still qualify for this if I already have points? I have not attended on before?

Our Response:
The courses are offered at the discretion of the police- generally they look at whether you have attended a course before and how far below the expected standard of a "competent and careful" driver you have "fallen".
NoPenaltyPoints - 3-May-16 @ 10:59 AM
Last night I was charged by a police office for driving without due care and attention. I explained to the officer that I already had 11 points on my licence for speeding and any other points would lilkely result in a ban. I am a salesman and rely on my car. He said he would recommend me for a course so I would avoid points . Will I still qualify for this if I already have points? I have not attended on before?
Mar68tin - 30-Apr-16 @ 8:15 AM
For being down a road realised took a wrong turn. No on coming traffic so slowed to attempt a turn in the road. Checked mirrors and indicated as soon as I started to turn a motorcyclist hit my driver's side front wheel. He was not hurt and not taken to hospital. Liability is mine according to my insurer...will I get charged with driving without due care and attention?
Runraid - 8-Apr-16 @ 3:16 PM
aj - Your Question:
My girlfriend had an accident on new years day I've just received a letter today 4.4.16 from the police asking for her details. I thought they only had 14 days to prosecute her is this correct ?

Our Response:
It depends on the nature of the offence/incident. The 14 day rule applies to traffic offences.
NoPenaltyPoints - 6-Apr-16 @ 2:25 PM
My girlfriend had an accident on new years day I've just received a letter today 4.4.16 from the police asking for her details. I thought they only had 14 days to prosecute her is this correct ?
aj - 4-Apr-16 @ 1:26 PM
me - Your Question:
I was driving very slowly dented a ladies bumper in car park and failed to report on time. I got a NIP letter and undue care attention. I got a letter today from the police saying no further action would be taken. Does this mean I won't be fined or summoned to court. There was no one in the other car at the time and no one was hurt. I had found the lady of the car later and gave her my details.

Our Response:
If it says no further action will be taken then you will not be fine or summoned to court.
NoPenaltyPoints - 29-Mar-16 @ 11:44 AM
I was driving very slowly dented a ladies bumper in car park andfailed to report on time. I got a NIP letter and undue care attention. I got a letter today from the police saying no further action would be taken. Does this mean I won't be fined or summoned to court. There was no one in the other car at the time and no one was hurt. I had found the lady of the car later and gave her my details .
me - 26-Mar-16 @ 12:34 PM
Ok sorry my fault. I didn't use a question mark ????? Lol
dav - 17-Mar-16 @ 8:06 PM
Hi sorry if I offended anyone. I askeda question and am offered no response. No email has been received and yet the next persons comment gets replied to straight away! I am willing to pay a fee to your company if you believe there will be a successful outcome. yours sincerely Potential customer.
dav - 17-Mar-16 @ 8:02 PM
Emmy - Your Question:
I had a car crash over a year ago and I was cautioned by the police. I received a letter through the post to say that no further action would be taken and did not receive any fines or points but am worried this might come up on a DBS check. How can I find out?

Our Response:
A driving caution that does not involve alcohol should be excluded from a DBS check under the filtering process. But you might need to check with the police to be sure.
NoPenaltyPoints - 17-Mar-16 @ 2:41 PM
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