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Driving Without Due Care and Attention

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 16 Dec 2018 | 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 have received a NIP for careless driving but have no idea what for.I have opted to do the course but i really want to find out what Im supposed to have done - is there any way I can find out?
Jamandar - 16-Dec-18 @ 3:35 PM
I was driving along a narrow road when a wide lorry came into view I veered left as its wheels were in my lane. As there was only hedgerow on my nearside I was tipped over and as I slid down the road damaged the length of a car following the lorry, writing it off. Nobody was hurt and the lorry driver drove off. When the Police arrived they viewed 57 secs of footage from my Dash Camand I was ticketed for Undue Attention. After downloading onto my P.C the relevant footage lasted 7 secs. Can I appeal as I am being held at Full Fault by Insurers?
Phil - 6-Dec-18 @ 11:43 AM
Hi, I got a letter though the post. For a red light offence. I didn't go through the red light but stopped after the white line. Camera flashed. I didn't stop faster as I had 2 sleeping kids in the back and could of caused them stress. Is it worth going to court to contest?
Pete - 12-Sep-18 @ 12:33 PM
Hi I drove my mums car and accidentally went into the back on someone else. I thoughts mum had put me on her insurance as we had discussed this the week before but she hadn’t done it yet. What could my penalty be?
John - 14-Aug-18 @ 11:20 PM
Oasis - Your Question:
Hi, drove on wrong side of the road and was driving inconsiderate. Got pulled over by the police and thought I was drunk, where I was clearly wasn’t. Did I breathliser test but the result was 0. I did admit I was driving inconsiderate. Police has taken my details down along with my driving licence on a black note pad. But did not receive any ticket on that very day. What will happen next? I’m getting told that I was let off a warning and the police officer was scaring me? Will I receive a penalty? Through the post? He did mention that he might summon it too the court? Any ideas? Thanks.

Our Response:
You could still receive a fixed penalty or court summons if the police thought you were driving inconsiderately, dangerously or carelessly.
NoPenaltyPoints - 19-Jun-18 @ 10:49 AM
Hi, drove on wrong side of the road and was driving inconsiderate. Got pulled over by the police and thought I was drunk, where I was clearly wasn’t. Did I breathliser test but the result was 0. I did admit I was driving inconsiderate. Police has taken my details down along with my driving licence on a black note pad. But did not receive any ticket on that very day. What will happen next? I’m getting told that I was let off a warning and the police officer was scaring me? Will I receive a penalty? Through the post? He did mention that he might summon it too the court? Any ideas? Thanks.
Oasis - 18-Jun-18 @ 12:55 AM
Thought I'd contribute as I think this site is really helpful. Had a "driving without due care" experience recently. Was driving along a 3 lane stretch of road, middle lane, lots of rain, so not driving quickly at all. Large vehicle up ahead blocking all vision of the lane ahead of it, so driving well back as a consequence. Suddenly the vehicle ahead goes into full-on emergency stop, although it was impossible to tell at the time. I rapidly slowed as the distance between us closed, then just as suddenly it stops, maybe from 20 / 30mph down to 0 in half a second flat, accompanied by a large bang (imagine, large stationary vehicle ahead of it, in the middle lane, naturally). With the best will in the world, my brakes are not going to achieve the same and just before impact, I pulled the nose of the car right, into the empty lane beside me. Less a considered decision, more an "I don't want to die" moment. Another half second I guess, and I get clipped by a vehicle coming from behind in the lane I moved into. Long story short, the police very much wanted me to be done for due care, although a charge was never pursued. I did learn loads from the experience though. So far as I can tell "driving without due care" roughly translates to "driving whilst being a human". Any form of distraction, radio, friends in car, kids in car, events around car, can all make you guilty. I had none of these (I'd even turned the radio down as it wasn't very interesting at the time) but that still isn't enough for the police, it would seem. So driving while entirely concentrating on the road, and being forced into a situation with no reasonable choices to make, is apparently driving without due care, at least, according to the police. I'm not sure what the answers are, the police never once shared with me any single element of the events they considered to be "wrong", only the nebulous concept of "due care and attention". I'm not sure that guessing helps either, for every other possible action, there would have been an outcome, whether better or worse is impossible to say. So yeh, great site, really insightful stories shared by others, many thanks. Stay safe.
NotAHappyDriver - 27-May-18 @ 4:51 PM
hi there i was involved in a collision last year and was found guilt of driving without due care and attention. I attended a driver awareness course and have received no penalty points do i have to declare this as a conviction when applying for insurance?
ben - 27-May-18 @ 12:29 PM
Came out work car park looked right then leftno traffic to right but cars to leftso as I pulled out noticed traffic light to left was on red so moved across to right side looked up side street nothing calming went to move into side street with my indicator on and 16 on bike on foot path no helmet did not stop at curb to check traffic so we both collided , good job was not speeding as Iv seen some do , it was not her bike she borrowed it she was ok thank god but I now have go on course and charged with due care , but because she is 16 she is not responsible for not paying attention or go on a course to ride bike or the parents for not teaching to stop at curb and look for cars , been having flash backs keep and panic attacks what if I'd was speed and I'd have killed her
Pj - 4-Nov-17 @ 7:43 PM
Red light NIP- The road I was on was a one way street with one lane going straight or left.I was at a traffic light in my own segregated right lane only with a hard standing traffic island seperating me from the straight/left lane.The road I wanted to turn into was closed at the junction due to a cycle race.Cones and a road marshall were in place.I have moved forward towards the marshall to speak to him (as the road was supposed to have public access to get to certain roads) The light yellow camera has taken a picture of me past the stop line.Recorded contravening speed on the ticket shows me travelling at 0 mph.The phot also shows the cones and marshall in the background.I am waiting to go to court with a guilty plea as I did drive through a red light.I am hoping for an absolute discharge as I could not proceed where I wanted to even if the light was green.Does the red ATS still apply even if the road I wanted to turn into was fully closed?Will the court be nice on me re points etc?
crackers193 - 11-Oct-17 @ 5:58 PM
Hi guys Please help as I'm really worried an got so much on my plate I'm struggling sleeping, my man was diagnosed with terminal cancer so my head was all over the place, I was driving an something fell on my passenger floor I noticed a bus far ahead in the distance an leaned to see what the item was. Unfortunately I didn't no the bus was stopping to turn right and crashed into him. Luckily the bus was empty I suffered bad burns from the air bags an my car was written off. I'm struggling so bad with money that I cannot afford the drivin course of 190 pound an have until the 14th of September to do so. I'm worried if I can't pay this an do it in time il be taken to court. What actions will I face ?? Any advice?
Katie - 1-Sep-17 @ 12:16 AM
Movvers - Your Question:
I have been charged with the above offence. The brief details are as follows; on 3rd Jan 2017 I had just dropped my son off at school, when pulling out from a T-junction I hit another vehicle side on at very low speed. I looked both ways and moved out slowly but the sun was very low in the sky and dazzling meaning I looked but failed to see the car. The other driver was knocked unconscious and had injuries (whiplash etc) caused mostly through the activation of the airbags. the questions I have are:* I have been given the option to plead guilty. I am aware the likely effect of this will be 3 to 6 points and a fine. I want to know if a guilty plea will also leave me open to a civil claim for damages?* If I was to fight the charge how much would this cost - I do feel that although I feel terrible for the accident, but it was just that, an accident and one that had many mitigating factors - the main being the visibility due to the sun). * if I was to fight the charge would that have an effect on the other driver in any way? I want to factor in the costs (both fiscal and human) to everyone to ensure no one is left unnecessarily inconvenienced before making a decision.

Our Response:
Sorry but this is all something you should ask a legal professional about.
NoPenaltyPoints - 26-Jul-17 @ 1:58 PM
I have been charged with the above offence. The brief details are as follows; on 3rd Jan 2017 I had just dropped my son off at school, when pulling out from a T-junction I hit another vehicle side on at very low speed. I looked both ways and moved out slowly but the sun was very low in the sky and dazzling meaning I looked but failed to see the car. The other driver was knocked unconscious and had injuries (whiplash etc) caused mostly through the activation of the airbags. the questions I have are: * I have been given the option to plead guilty. I am aware the likely effect of this will be 3 to 6 points and a fine. I want to know if a guilty plea will also leave me open to a civil claim for damages? * If I was to fight the charge how much would this cost - I do feel that although I feel terrible for the accident, butit was just that, an accident and one that had many mitigating factors - the main being the visibility due to the sun). * if I was to fight the charge would that have an effect on the other driver in any way? I want to factor in the costs (both fiscal and human) to everyone to ensure no one is left unnecessarily inconveniencedbefore making a decision.
Movvers - 20-Jul-17 @ 1:16 PM
Good evening I've recently had a letter from the police That are proceeding to do me for driving without due care and attention for an effecnce that got reported to them in my car. The police never stoped me or have had them come to my house just a report to them from Some person that I over took off a round about. I'm unsure what they can do as there is no evidence only what the other driver reported. What do I do now?? If there anything I can do as no one got hurt and no police have been involved until now Kind regards Lennie
Lennie Whistlecraft - 12-Jul-17 @ 6:57 PM
Vinny - Your Question:
I was driving and my car skidded due to A patch of black ice on the road. Despite the officer and the person who called the emergency services commenting that the road was very icy I have been charged with driving without due care and attention. I know that the weather is not a factor but surely some consideration should be taken to the weather conditions at the time of the accident?

Our Response:
We can't comment on this as we don't know how fast you were driving or what type of road etc
NoPenaltyPoints - 18-May-17 @ 2:31 PM
I was driving and my car skidded due to A patch of black ice on the road. Despite the officer and the person who called the emergency services commenting that the road was very icy i have been charged with driving without due care and attention. I know that the weather is not a factor but surely some consideration should be taken to the weather conditions at the time of the accident?
Vinny - 17-May-17 @ 6:22 PM
I have come into work today to a phone call to my Director and a follow on email from a Police Office claiming that he witnessed me driving without due care and attention yesterday, and he has reported a Police Incident for the same.The information he gave my director is (from my recollection of the events) is incorrect, he has said that I cut him up and I had to brake as cars in front of me were observing the speed limit - I neither cut him up, and I didn't brake for a further 400 metres for an island.He wants me to call him tomorrow, and I am very worried as to what he wants - As I wasn't stopped, he was driving an old 4x4, towing a trailer that was a lot wider than his car, not marked as Police, and he was alone.I was not stopped, can he take this matter further?As it would just be his word against mine?
T - 10-May-17 @ 2:35 PM
Involved in minor RTC at roundabout whereby the car infront went to pull away and broke suddenly and I went into back of car. Police were called because witness was driving a company car. He was seen to by paramedics I believe by the advice of his dad for insurance purposes. Recieved 3 months later a charge of driving without due course and attention. Would really appreciate some advice as I believe this to be a minor Road traffic accident and not a chargeable offence.
Ben - 28-Apr-17 @ 2:23 PM
Cal - Your Question:
I was in an accident where I failed to spot the give way lines. My partner ended up in hospital however the other car which struck us as a result of my not giving way were unharmed. I am obviously the guilty party but have never ever done anything like this before and it was a total freak accident on a quiet road. What am I to expect next?

Our Response:
The other party will probably claim for damage to their vehicle via their insurance. The police will only take action if they think your driving was careless or dangerous.
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Apr-17 @ 12:47 PM
I was in an accident where I failed to spot the give way lines. My partner ended up in hospital however the other car which struck us as a result of my not giving way were unharmed. I am obviously the guilty party but have never ever done anything like this before and it was a total freak accident on a quiet road. What am I to expect next?
Cal - 17-Apr-17 @ 9:46 PM
I recently received a letter stating that I had driven through a red light and to provide my details, which I did. I then, after a few weeks receive an other later saying that the light had been red for a long time when I went through it and will be prosecuted now, rather that receive the fixed fee and points. Can they do this?.....change their mind and I cannot find anything on the timings of a red light changing the type of offence.....
Rubes - 16-Mar-17 @ 6:38 PM
Ive had 3 points on my lience which completely came off my leince april 2016. And also had a education course and i had an accident on an A road where i went to pull out from.the inside lane checked my mirror didnt see a car in the outside lane went to pull out and then saw the side kf the car in my driver window went to pull back in and lose control and span out and ive been reported for careless driving just wondered what i would get.
Miss marion denley - 4-Feb-17 @ 8:39 PM
I was stopped on my way to work by the police who said a marked police vehicle had provided my number and that I had overtaken a slow moving vehicleand pulled in causing the vehicle to break suddenly to avoid collision or that is what I thought they were saying. I said I may have overtaken a vehicle and pulled in sharper than I normally would as I was close to a bend but to be honest I couldn't remember the incident. I was shocked at the time and tried to think what had happened. When the papers came through almost 3 months later it stated that I had overtaken a slow moving vehicle in the face of oncoming traffic and a marked police car had had to take evasive action to avoid collision and I can't believe I would not have been aware of this. I have been sick with worry about this for 2 months waiting to hear and I really want this to be over as soon as possible as I need to drive for my job. I am over 60 with 3 points on my license for exceeding the speed limit that are 3 years in August. Please can you advise me if I just plead guilty if I am likely to get more than 3 points on my license. Thanks
Fay - 30-Jan-17 @ 1:24 PM
I was driving my scooter to work when a cyclist cut me off. I slammed on brakes and managed to stay upright. I went up to the cyclist and told him to watch how he cycled. He then started waving his hand at me as I slowed down to have a go at him and I literally slapped his hand away. He was wearing a helmet cam and I have been contacted by Met Pol. Do you have any advice. I'm certain he will not have submitted the full video showing him cutting me off. Or the video showing him waving his hand at me. They are investigating me for "Driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place. Section 3 of the Road Trafic Act, 1988" I should add I was initially contacted by post but the reg number was certainly not my vehicle. i phoned the met pol and they said "yes we made an error, we will resend with correct reg number". Please advise / help. :(
london27m - 25-Jan-17 @ 1:18 PM
My partner was driving home from work when the police stopped him said they had received phone calls saying he Had been swerving on the road. He explained that he had been tired (newborn baby at home) and was going home to sleep they cautioned him and told him to go home to bed. What is the possible outcome from this?
LaurenW95 - 6-Jan-17 @ 4:55 PM
Lou - Your Question:
Regarding my partner and his friend driving over the limit.Yes, neither men was charged and let out after a couple of hours. But nothing else was said by the police. So are either men looking at fines? Points on partners licence?

Our Response:
We really can't say what the police will do. Driving without a licence can incur a fine of up to £1000 plus 3 to 6 points when a licence applied for. Obviously as he had no licence he could also be penalised for driving without insurance another fine plus potentially 3 points. Speeding would also attract a fine plus 3 points depending on the level at which he was speeding. If the case goes to court the judge might impose different penalties. Allowing someone else to drive without insurance can incur the same penalties.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Jan-17 @ 2:14 PM
Regarding my partner and his friend driving over the limit.. Yes, neither men was charged and let out after a couple of hours. But nothing else was said by the police. So are either men looking at fines? Points on partners licence?
Lou - 4-Jan-17 @ 10:58 PM
Lou - Your Question:
Hi. My partner allowed his friend to drive his car; bearing in mind his friend has no licence!! He drove over the speed limit and was caught and both arrested. Both are very stupid, no excuses for them and very lucky no one was hurt. Both was let out without charge. But will any more come of this? Court? Points? Just need to know where we standThanks

Our Response:
Your post said they were let off without charge?
NoPenaltyPoints - 4-Jan-17 @ 12:16 PM
Hi. My partner allowed his friend to drive his car; bearing in mind his friend has no licence!! He drove over the speed limit and was caught and both arrested. Both are very stupid, no excuses for them and very lucky no one was hurt. Both was let out without charge. But will any more come of this? Court? Points? Just need to know where we stand Thanks
Lou - 3-Jan-17 @ 12:46 PM
Hi, my boyfriend accidentally scraped another car when reversing on a night with thick fog, on a dimly lit road. He wasn't under the influence or changing a CD at the time. He has since received a notice from the owner of the scraped car that she's reported him to the police. This is despite the fact that he's agreed to pay for damages via his insurance. Does he have any means of rebuttal?
Sam - 29-Dec-16 @ 12:43 PM
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