Home > Driver Offences > Driving Without Due Care and Attention

Driving Without Due Care and Attention

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 19 Jun 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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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
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
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