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Driving Without Due Care and Attention

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 10 Feb 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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[Add a Comment]
I had turn on into trafficto join a roundaboutsome how a turned into to wrong lane luckilyno traffic was near so I waited but then turnedright . I quickly realisedmy mistake and turned round.Thankfully the traffic had seen mistake and waited. I then drove correctly joiningtheroad I had intendedto. The were no police around as I checked beforedriving home. The thingis few days later I went on a extendedholiday for two months.If I'm in trouble what will happenif I don't knowregards any charges.
troubled - 30-Jan-16 @ 10:22 PM
Urallmine- Your Question:
Hi I was wondering if you can help me I was travelling down a 50 mph dual carriage way at the end it goes into a 30mph zone as I reached the zone I applied my brakes as to my panic they didn't respond I continously pressed and depressed my brakes to no avail eventually I slowed down but after the 30 mph sign (75 yards on) there is a trafic light and speed camera I am not sure if I triggered it and what to do if I did my car has gone into the garage and I was told that my brake fluid was faulty and needed changing which has no been done. Please can you advise me on what to do thanks

Our Response:
You should just wait and see whether you are sent an NIP. It may be that your speed was not recorded or was not sufficiently high to warrant action. Saying that your brakes didn't work effectively, will not be considered a valid defence/excuse, in fact it may make it worse and you could be given an additional penalty for defective brakes.
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-Jan-16 @ 11:35 AM
Hi I was wondering if you can help me I was travelling down a 50 mph dual carriage way at the end it goes into a 30mph zone as I reached the zone I applied my brakes as to my panic they didn't respond I continously pressed and depressed my brakes to no avail eventually I slowed down but after the 30 mph sign (75 yards on) there is a trafic light and speed camera I am not sure if I triggered it and what to do if I did my car has gone into the garage and I was told that my brake fluid was faulty and needed changing which has no been done.Please can you advise me on what to do thanks
Urallmine - 26-Jan-16 @ 8:43 AM
potato - Your Question:
I got a letter on the 18th January 2016 stating that they had sent me a letter previously requesting the police with details of driver of motor vehicle, although I have not received any letter before this. The letter stats that I was alleged to have committed an offence of driving without due care and attention on the 9th December at 2015 on the motor way. I called up the police department who'm I received the letter from but they said they cannot disclose any information about what the reason is until I confirm the identity of who was driving. I am quite certain that I did not drive in a manner that should be charged with penalty nor did have I broken any rules. I have not even been stopped by a police officer during the dates mentioned. Please tell me what this can be about and what the consequences are and how I can find out more information about the offence before providing them more information

Our Response:
At this stage the police are trying to establish the identity of the driver. Return the relevant forms either identifying yourself as the driver of the vehicle on that date or stating that you were not the driver. The police will then be able to provide you with more information.
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-Jan-16 @ 10:33 AM
I got a letter on the 18th January 2016 stating that they had sent me a letter previously requesting the police with details of driver of motor vehicle, although I have not received any letter before this. The letter stats that I was alleged to have committed an offence of driving without due care and attention on the 9th December at 2015 on the motor way. I called up the police department who'm I received the letter from but they said they cannot disclose any information about what the reason is until I confirm the identity of who was driving. I am quite certain that I did not drive in a manner that should be charged with penalty nor did have I broken any rules. I have not even been stopped by a police officer during the dates mentioned. Please tell me what this can be about and what the consequences are and how I can find out more information about the offence before providing them more information
potato - 20-Jan-16 @ 3:02 PM
I was stationary at a junction about to join the road. I looked left and right and pulled out. Suddenly a cyclist was in front of me and i clipped his back wheel doing around 1-5mph. This was a complete accident I just didn't see him. He wobbled and eventually fell of his bike. An ambulance was called and took him to A&E he got up as they put him into the back of the ambulance (estate car ambulance) I have heard nothing for around 2 months and today the officer that attended the scene range me to say can k come to the station tomorrow for an interview on the accident. What can I expect, what could happen.
Me2015 - 15-Jan-16 @ 6:03 PM
Hi, I'm going to corby magistrates court and being charged with: driving without due care and attention, leaving the scene of a crime and failing to report an accident. Supposedly I hit a womans wingmirror who use to live opposite me. However, I have no damage to my car and I don't believe I hit her. She said she has an independent whiteness but the statement he has given completly conflicts her statement(different roads, different car makes and colours). When I go to court will I have to be in a box or will it be a small room. Also what would you say the likely out come wI'll be? Thank you
KJ - 11-Jan-16 @ 8:57 PM
Bob - Your Question:
Hi my partner drivers hgv for a living he had an incident on a level crossing. He approached and was no warning signs nor barriers therefore proceeded over. As he went over the barrier came down on the other side of the road and clipped the back end of his lorry. Breaking the plastic. He pulled over and phoned network rail right away and was informed he could proceed and they would sort out from there, also told similar occurrences had happened. Then he recieved a phone call 3 weeks later regarding the incident and then told would be sent a letter with a statement to fill in. The letter came and said that he could be charged with any of about 5 traffic offences. Obviously he is very worried I don't personally think he should. He suffers anxiety and depression therefore is causing untold stress. Could you give any advice? Thanks

Our Response:
He should simply state his case. Are there really no warning signs etc? That's highly unusual. He should obtain photos of the area and state the exact details of what happened etc. If he's actually charged with any of the offences, it would be worth his while seeking the advice of a motoring law expert.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-Jan-16 @ 2:27 PM
Turning right out of a junction in September a car approaching from the left hit me spinning off . I called the police and ambulance P.C. that attended reassured me that I t was an accident and that 100s would happen that day. I have now received a letter requiring me to be interviewed regards the accident. Is this routine or am I in trouble. I am so frightened. Please help
Craftymum - 7-Jan-16 @ 2:32 PM
Hi my partner drivers hgv for a living he had an incident on a level crossing. He approached and was no warning signs nor barriers therefore proceeded over. As he went over the barrier came down on the other side of the road and clipped the back end of his lorry. Breaking the plastic. He pulled over and phoned network rail right away and was informed he could proceed and they would sort out from there, also told similar occurrences had happened. Then he recieved a phone call 3 weeks later regarding the incident and then told would be sent a letter with a statement to fill in. The letter came and said that he could be charged with any of about 5 traffic offences. Obviously he is very worried I don't personally think he should. He suffers anxiety and depression therefore is causing untold stress. Could you give any advice? Thanks
Bob - 7-Jan-16 @ 12:07 AM
Hi I pulled out slowly, turning right from a give way in my car. within a second or two I heard a small thud and I had hit an older lady. I had only been doing literally 5 mph. She was dressed in black, some street lights were out and I just did not see her. An ambulance was called as she had existing injuries which obviously had been made worse. I was cautioned under the act as I was told I had no chance, e.g pedestrains have the main right in roads. I have been refered to a Driving improvment course. I am really unhappy though as I asked before admitting responsibility if this caution would show up on a DBS, he said no, but I know now that this is not the case. Shall I go to court instead? I have driven for 25 years without a scratch and now this happens. She walked into my car as it left the give way slowly, nowher near a pavement to cross onto. the CCTV shows that she was in thr road before my turn. What's the worst? 3 points and a hundred quid fine? What do you think?
Mario - 3-Jan-16 @ 8:58 PM
I got a letter asking me to attend the course for driver alertness rgearing a car accident I had 2 months ago. It wasn't my fault it was the other girls fault and thr insurrance companies are still trying to come to a conclusion on the liability so how can I be sent this if it's not proven yet I was driving without due care? I feel like I'm being penalised for something I havnt done. What can I do please?
Nas - 29-Dec-15 @ 2:03 PM
I was driving on the m3 motorway and pulled into the inside lane to come off onto the A34. It was quite tight and the car behind flashed me and I saved to say sorry. He then put on a police sign but didn't stop me. Am I likely to be done for careless driving or does he have to stop me
SOPPY - 22-Dec-15 @ 4:44 PM
mark - Your Question:
My wife has received a statutory notice to provide details for an alleged driving without due care and attention offence (letter dated more than 6 weeks after alleged offence). She has no recollection of any incident occurring and the letter does not mention any specifics about the nature of the alleged offence. How should we proceed?

Our Response:
Ring the relevant police force to check this is not a scam. Ask for details, which should include the date, the location and some information about the offence. If your wife is the registered keeper and licence/vehicle/address details have not been changed in the last couple of months, you can also challenge this under the 14 day rule. Here is a guide to Disputing a ticket that arrives in the incorrect time period.
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-Dec-15 @ 11:27 AM
My wife has received a statutory notice to provide details for an alleged driving without due care and attention offence (letter dated more than 6 weeks after alleged offence). She has no recollection of any incident occurring and the letter does not mention any specifics about the nature of the alleged offence. How should we proceed?
mark - 21-Dec-15 @ 3:13 AM
lmck7 - Your Question:
Hi I need some help I was driving to work this morning I stopped at the end of a side road looked right and seen a car far down the road looked left and seen nothing so I pulled out and next thing I know someone has crashed into the side of my car. The person that was driving up the road was to far away to see what had happened altough when the police arrived he has said I pulled out in front of the oncoming vehicle. I did not see the vehicle coming as she didn't have her lights turned on and it was 6am in the morning so it was extremely dark the police have now requested me to come to be interviewed as they claim I was driving without due care and attention. Could you give me any advice?

Our Response:
Tell them the truth, that the vehicle that hit you was driving in the dark with no lights on.
NoPenaltyPoints - 9-Dec-15 @ 10:13 AM
Hi I need some help I was driving to work this morning I stopped at the end of a side road looked right and seen a car far down the road looked left and seen nothing so I pulled out and next thing I know someone has crashed into the side of my car. The person that was driving up the road was to far away to see what had happened altough when the police arrived he has said I pulled out in front of the oncoming vehicle. I did not see the vehicle coming as she didn't have her lights turned on and it was 6am in the morning so it was extremely dark the police have now requested me to come to be interviewed as they claim I was driving without due care and attention. Could you give me any advice?
lmck7 - 8-Dec-15 @ 12:29 PM
Diti - Your Question:
I came up at an unfamiliar traffic lights junction with two lanes. I stopped quiet alright as the lights where red. Waited for about 30 seconds also when the light on my left hand side turned green and I started off, which was a terrible mistake as that was meant for the other cars in the next lane on my left, I should have waited for the right hand side one to go green. The guy coming onwards from the opposite direction hit into me. My car was extensively damaged-his was also badly damaged but not as bad as mine.Somehow this was due to the crying baby aboard-she was crying and trying to come off her rear car seat belt and I was trying to cool her down and thus kept my mind off the road/traffic lights. Luckily though, no one was injured among the four of us in the car. The gentleman in the other car said he was fine. The police where called in and one of them simply said he understands my situation, this was due to short sightedness on my part, but was quick to say, the bottom line is that I passed through the red rights leading to an accident and that they will let me know the action they will take in the near future. Really worried considering I already have 3 points on my licence-what would be my fate in this scenario, would I end up going to Court? If I got points issued by the Court, would this be considered as a mere FPN or as a criminal record on my name since it would have originated from the Court?

Our Response:
This really depends on how the police officers present at the scene assessed the situation. If the offence is running a red light, you'd probably receive 3 penalty points plus £100 fine. If however, it was viewed as one of the careless driving offences, the penalty would be more severe (anything from 3 to 9 points) and this would probably be decided in court.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-Dec-15 @ 9:53 AM
I came up at an unfamiliar traffic lights junction with two lanes. I stopped quiet alright as the lights where red. Waited for about 30 seconds also when the light on my left hand side turned green and I started off, which was a terrible mistake as that was meant for the other cars in the next lane on my left, I should have waited for the right hand side one to go green. The guy coming onwards from the opposite direction hit into me. My car was extensively damaged-his was also badly damaged but not as bad as mine. Somehow this was due to the crying baby aboard-she was crying and trying to come off her rear car seat belt and I wastrying to cool her down and thus kept my mind off the road/traffic lights. Luckily though, no one was injured among the four of us in the car. The gentleman in the other car said he was fine.The police where called in and one of them simply said he understands my situation, this was due to short sightedness on my part, but was quick to say, the bottom line is that I passed through the red rights leading to an accident and that they will let me know the action they will take in the near future. Really worried considering I already have 3 points on my licence-what would be my fate in this scenario, would I end up going to Court?If I got points issued by the Court, would this be considered as a mere FPN or as a criminal record on my name since it would have originated from the Court?
Diti - 7-Dec-15 @ 1:18 AM
Nat- Your Question:
If a policeman says I am being charged with undue care and attention does he have to provide me with some sort of paperwork on the spot?

Our Response:
Not necessarily. You can ask for a copy of any paperwork carried out by the police at the time though.
NoPenaltyPoints - 2-Dec-15 @ 12:43 PM
If a policeman says I am being charged with undue care and attention does he have to provide me with some sort of paperwork on the spot?
Nat - 30-Nov-15 @ 9:45 PM
I was driving along a road, not speeding or onmy phone (this has been proved), I slightly vered to the left near a grass verge and overcompensated straigtening up and went over the white line in the middle of the road, hitting an oncoming car. An independant witness confirmed the above. Mine and the other lady's car written off. No real injuries, just scratches. I cannot remember what happened except glass breaking and getting out of the car.After 3 months still not heard from police on whether they will prostecute for DWDCA or I get to go on a driving course or get a slap on the wrist.A genuine accident, no malice, not speeding it just happened so reckon I just lost concentration for a couple of seconds.What to you think my fate is?
HH - 26-Nov-15 @ 2:21 PM
I have been done for due care and attention for travelling to close to another car, I am a new driver, and I have been driving for 14 months, will I get a ban?
Clifford - 21-Nov-15 @ 4:13 PM
I am a bus driver and have been given a final disciplinary for running a red light. A few days ago I ran another red light as i didnt want to break harshly with passengers on board. I then saw a police motorcyclist turn his blue lights on and follow me to the next set of traffic lights of which i stopped at and is heavily pedestrinised. He took his helmet off and asked me if i run red lights and that i should have anticipated the lights rather than drive through on red. He told me to always look ahead. We both had to drive off as lights changed to green. Was he just giving me a warning or will i receive something through work. The back of our buses have all the details on that a policeman needs without asking me for any details so tickets and fines are sent to my job then i get asked into the office. I am concerned this is my second red light and how that will be viewed with the law and alsowill i definatley get a ticket or was this a friendly warning or am i just being delusional
carolyn - 14-Nov-15 @ 8:35 PM
Dani- Your Question:
I need some help I was driving last night going approx 20mph I was coming to a junction and tried to slow my brakes wouldn't stop (really don't no why) car has been fine I swerved to avoid oncoming traffic and ended up into a very large wall completely wrote my car off and had to be cut out by fire fighters as a result of this I'm really worried now as to what's going to happen to me I passed my test a year and a half ago and have no penalty points or parking fines

Our Response:
We really don't know what action the police/courts will take over this. Here is a link to the table of penalties for various motoring offences
NoPenaltyPoints - 12-Nov-15 @ 12:31 PM
I need some help I was driving last night going approx 20mph I was coming to a junction and tried to slow my brakes wouldn't stop (really don't no why) car has been fine I swerved to avoid oncoming traffic and ended up into a very large wall completely wrote my car off and had to be cut out by fire fighters as a result of this I'm really worried now as to what's going to happen to me I passed my test a year and a half ago and have no penalty points or parking fines
Dani - 11-Nov-15 @ 12:30 AM
Lance - Your Question:
6 months ago I was 16 and didnt havs a license or permit and I crashed a car into a stop sign and got caught by the police. Anyways I still havent heard anything from the court system and they put the sign back up the next day. Is there a chance they could have dropped it? There were 3 charges on the ticket and the cop was a pretty cool dude

Our Response:
It's very unlikely that this would have been dropped, you will probably hear about court proceedings soon.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Nov-15 @ 12:22 PM
6 months ago i was 16 and didnt havs a license or permit and i crashed a car into a stop sign and got caught by the police. Anyways i still havent heard anything from the court system and they put the sign back up the next day. Is there a chance they could have dropped it? There were 3 charges on the ticket and the cop was a pretty cool dude
Lance - 4-Nov-15 @ 9:56 PM
Hi everyone. Last night was driving on A303 when out of the blue a car ( was dark, not sure of brand, but very likely a SUV, judging by the lights) appeared behind me ( very close for my comfort!) I sped up a little to put some yards between us but the other car was glued to me! increasingly frustrated I sped more and more until I realised I was doing 105mph when I slowed down quite a bit (back down to 70 mph) At that moment the other car flashed blue lights like a Christmass tree, then went left and took a slip road!! Where am I going from here? Am I in deep trouble? Thanx. Any suggestion appreciated. Mr. T
Mr T. - 29-Oct-15 @ 7:35 PM
Hi, i had an accident 2 months ago, I was travelling down a straight road when 2 drivers further ahead decided to slam their brakes on, and i went to brake and my brakes didnt work so i overtook them instead of going into the back of them not knowing there was another driver just ahead turning right, as i got half way past them they hit the tail end of my car causing me to spin out crashing down through a field and a farmers fence, no one was injured fortunatly, the person who hit the tail end of my car had minor damage but still probably enough to write the car off. the lads who overtook me gave false statements as they heard me telling the police that they were speeding and slamed their brakes on. the police didnt believe a word i said and told me due to what the witnesses have said they are charging me with dangerous driving and driving with undue care and attention, but what was i ment to do i cant help the fact that my car brakes failed? i havent heard any news yet since the night of the accident? what i did by overtaking those cars definitely saved a life so i am glad i did what i did but still i feel like i am being un fairly judged. what is the outcome of this, will i most probably loose my liscence as i havent been driving for 2 years? if so how long for? and is there any way around this? and will the police even bother contacting me back? thanks in advance any info would be much appreciated.
tober - 28-Oct-15 @ 11:52 PM
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