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Driving Without Due Care and Attention

Author: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 5 April 2014 | commentsComment
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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accident 17 jan 2014.no nip sent to date?letter dated 25 march 2014 arrived 27 march 2014 entitled,offer and invite letter-an alternative to prosecution.?what prosecution?
na - 5-Apr-14 @ 12:44 PM
when I pull over and another car pull in front of me and 3 people jump out I panic thinking road rage I pulled away at high speed and then chase fear in for my life I was luck to lost the car only too be stop later by a mark police car that the other car was an unmark police car now I am due in court on 26/03/14 for due care and attention I am now unable to get in to my car
geekme - 24-Mar-14 @ 9:43 AM
how long does driving without due care n attention stay on your licence for?
angelina - 24-Dec-13 @ 12:40 PM
i was involved in a rtc on 13th may 2012 ans have recived a summonds for without due care and attention dated 8th november 2012 the letter is franked 23rd november 2012 , how do i stand with regard to the time scale from accident to summonds either the date on summonds or the franked postal date
mike d - 26-Nov-12 @ 12:50 PM
I was driving home and a nother car reported me for cutting a corner they sed I nerley hit them I think I would rember sumthing like that! So enyway police cum to.my door.and say im getting done for driving without due care. It there word against mine can eny 1 help
denzle1986 - 20-Oct-12 @ 11:08 PM
I was parked up making a call to my childminder due to not receiving a message from my partner about dropping her to the childminders house and not the school.. as I drove off I hung up but then the next day received a card through my door form a local PC. i contacted the station straight away and was told I had to come in for an interview but when I turned up with a solicitor the officer said I did not have to attend an interview. 3 months later I have now received a court date at the end of this monthwith 2 offences: .using a mobile phone .driving with due care and attention Can anybody please give me advise??I was travelling at 5 miles per hour and yes I do take responcibility for my actions but not sure what will now happen. I have a baby due in november and don't want to panic.
cla - 11-Jun-12 @ 3:02 PM
I was driving my car, when at a junction round about, the lights where red against me. When they changed to green I pulled away, my lane has on the road, markings indicating that this is a streight forward lane the inside lane is a turn left lane the woman on my inside drove streight on and ended up hitting my car. The police road video recorded this and are going to prosicute me for driving without due care and attention. Is this right? she came into my lane
Rog - 27-May-12 @ 8:01 PM
I had an accident basically i swerved a car who come from the opposite side and turned in my way without indicating and i hit a car on the other side what do you think the police will do about my licence
shelly - 22-May-12 @ 3:57 PM
I had an accident on December 25th 2011 about five weeks ago I have been inform by the police that I am now being charged for (driving without due care and attention) can the police do this after nearly 5 months since the accident, the case is Friday 25th may this Friday.Many Thanks
Will - 21-May-12 @ 10:01 AM
200 8 6 points when can l tell insurance l have no points
auntylav - 30-Mar-12 @ 8:44 PM
I have 8 penalty points which I received on the 3/6/ 2007,when will they be taken off my licence
timber - 2-Jun-11 @ 11:57 AM
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