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Driving Without Due Care and Attention

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 21 Sep 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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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
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?
Emmy - 16-Mar-16 @ 2:40 PM
I was at junction when a car went by taking off my number plate also a small strip of bumper trim. I didn't stop I'm sure the other car didn't stop either. I have received a NIP (due care and attention) which I haven'tfilled in yet. I would like to say that I was unaware. Can you give me any advice on how to reduce potential charges. I'm sure the police have the numberplate and strip of trim.
dav - 14-Mar-16 @ 6:30 PM
jelli - Your Question:
Last July I was driving a works vehicle on works business in the rain on an A road. The car in front suddenly stopped to turn right, I hit my brakes hard but unfortunately the vehicle I was in slid into the back of them. My passengers and I were checked out in an ambulance and there were no injuries. My colleague gave a statement but I the driver was not spoken to or breathalyzed which I assumed was the normal way of things. I was not asked for a statement until weeks after the event and now, 7 months after the event, I've received a Summons on Referral to Court to attend Magistrates court in the morning. I'm guessing its for driving without due care and attention but the only reason given in the letter is case inappropriate for the single justice procedure. What does this mean? What should I expect? A little worried, never been to court before.

Our Response:
Sorry we've probably received this a little too late to help. A court summons should inform you of the pending claim or charges against you. If it doesn't you should contact the court or a solicitor for advice.
NoPenaltyPoints - 19-Feb-16 @ 11:52 AM
Last July I was driving a works vehicle on works business in the rain on an A road. The car in front suddenly stopped to turn right, I hit my brakes hard but unfortunately the vehicle I was in slid into the back of them. My passengers and I were checked out in an ambulance and there were no injuries. My colleague gave a statement but I the driver was not spoken to or breathalyzed which I assumed was the normal way of things. I was not asked for a statement until weeks after the event and now, 7 months after the event,I've received a Summons on Referral to Court to attend Magistrates court in the morning. I'm guessing its for driving without due care and attention but the only reason given in the letter is case inappropriate for the single justice procedure. What does this mean? What should I expect? A little worried, never been to court before.
jelli - 18-Feb-16 @ 2:31 PM
Ray- Your Question:
I have got to go court for a careless driving offence as I was going round the round about at night and a bike came into me as I did not see him. He was injured had couple broke ribs and burst artery. What will happened ? Will I get banned ? :/

Our Response:
We really don't know enough about the details to tell you this.
NoPenaltyPoints - 16-Feb-16 @ 2:18 PM
I have got to go court for a careless driving offence as I was going round the round about at night and a bike came into me as I did not see him. He was injured had couple broke ribs and burst artery. What will happened ? Will I get banned ? :/
Ray - 14-Feb-16 @ 3:15 PM
hi I had a collision with a push bike at around 04.35 about two weeks ago I was pulling out of my road and did not see him he had no front lights and was dressed in dark clothing as I almost completed my turn I had a bang I think he hit my o/s rear corner I was turning left out of my road he went flying on the ground and may of damaged his leg so we called a ambulance and police and waited for them to arrive when the police got there they took the details of what happened and said that they would send the report to the collision dept. and they decide what to do my question is am I likely to be charged with a offence and how long do I have to wait before I hear back either way
dave - 11-Feb-16 @ 11:07 AM
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
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