Search

The difference between careless (or inconsiderate) driving and dangerous driving is not always easily understood.


The offences have specific meanings in law, and the consequences of conviction differ significantly. It is essential to receive advice from a specialist motoring lawyer, to determine whether the manner of your driving may constitute an offence, and if so, whether it has been appropriately classified. Additionally, one of the specialist driving offence lawyers at Freemans Solicitors can discuss with you whether you have a defence, or what mitigation is available that might avoid points and/or disqualification from driving or worse.

Careless driving is committed where how the vehicle is driven ‘falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.’ The more serious offence of dangerous driving is committed where the manner of driving falls “far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver,” and that the driving would be obviously dangerous from the perspective of such a driver.

If you need help with your Careless And Dangerous Driving Case please call us on 020 7935 3522 or us our contact form.

Dangerous Driving Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Is The Test For Dangerous Driving Applied By The Court?

    The test is an objective one and examined as against that of ‘a careful and competent driver.’ The court will ask themselves whether the manner of the driving fell far below what, by objective standards, could reasonably be expected from such a driver, and whether that would have been obvious to such a driver. In determining if driving is dangerous, the court will look at many factors. These might include speed, adherence to road/weather conditions, whether the driver had proper consideration towards other road users, whether his ability to drive was affected by drink/drugs and whether he/she was entirely focused on the road or might have been avoidably distracted by his actions.

  • What Is The Sentence For Dangerous Driving?

    There are a wide range of sentencing options for dangerous driving and these range from a low-level financial penalty right up to the maximum sentence of two years imprisonment. The final sentence arrived at will depend upon a range of factors. These will include matters of personal mitigation and mitigation in relation to the offence itself. Therefore, if you face a charge of dangerous driving, it is imperative to seek the help of a specialist motoring lawyer.

  • What Types Of Driving Can Be Considered Dangerous In Law?

    The following are some examples of the types of actions that could amount to dangerous driving:

    • Racing on public roads.
    • Driving at excessive speed in challenging weather or road conditions.
    • Performing aggressive car manoeuvres.
    • Deliberate disregard for road signs/traffic lights.
    • Cutting into lines of traffic.
    • Manoeuvres that force other road users to take emergency action to avoid injury.
    • Driving when knowing the vehicle has a dangerous defect.
    • Driving whilst dangerously and avoidably distracted from the road.
  • What Are The Defences To Dangerous Driving?

    The prosecution must prove to a criminal standard that your driving fell below the requisite standard. If they cannot you should be acquitted. Other defences include automatism, duress, and the vehicle having an unknown mechanical defect.

  • If Charged With Dangerous Driving, In Which Court Will My Case Be Heard?

    Dangerous driving is an either way offence and therefore can be tried in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court, depending on the seriousness of the alleged offending.

  • Will I Lose My Driving Licence If Convicted?

    Yes. The minimum term of disqualification that must be imposed for dangerous driving is 12 months, and this will be increased if the offence involves aggravating features. If a custodial sentence is imposed, then the court will likely extend any driving ban so as any disqualification will run to a suitable period following the end of any term of imprisonment. There will also be a requirement to take a retest before driving again after the period of disqualification has finished.

  • If I Am Acquitted Of Dangerous Driving, Is That The End Of The Matter?

    No. If you are acquitted of dangerous driving, in either the Magistrates or Crown Court, the court must go on to consider if the driving constituted a careless driving offence.

Careless Driving Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Is The Test For Careless Driving Applied By The Court?

    The test is an objective one and examined as against that of ‘a careful and competent driver’. The court will ask themselves whether the manner of the driving fell below what by objective standards what could reasonably be expected from such a driver. The court will consider both what a driver actually knew at the time of driving and what a driver should have been aware of in the circumstances.

  • If I Drive Within The Rules/Guidance Set Out In The Highway Code, Can I Be Guilty Of Careless Driving?

    Adherence to the rules/guidance of the Highway code will typically mean a driver would not be found guilty of careless driving. However, the inverse is also usually correct, in that, an individual that drives in a manner not consistent with the Highway code would typically be found to have acted in contravention of Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, careless driving.

  • What Are Examples Of Careless Driving?

    The following are some examples only of the types of actions that could amount to careless driving:

    • Veering off course.
    • Collisions whilst overtaking.
    • Causing an accident when driving at speed in wet conditions.
    • Undertaking other vehicles.
    • Driving in contravention of traffic signs/red lights.
    • Using a car radio/mobile phone or other devise which could cause distraction.
    • Pulling onto a main road causing another road user to take evasive action.
    • Driving inappropriately slowly.
    • Driving very close to a vehicle in front.
  • Are There Time Limits To Bring A Case To Court?

    Yes. The prosecutor must forward/lodge information with a court within 6 months of the date of the alleged offending, or the date when they became aware of the details of the alleged driver.

  • What Are The Defences To Careless Driving?

    The prosecution must prove to a criminal standard that your driving fell below the requisite standard. If they cannot you should be acquitted. Other defences include automatism, necessity, and the vehicle having an unknown mechanical defect.

  • If Convicted Of This Driving Offence, What Is The Likely Sentence?

    The sentence for this driving offence will be a financial penalty which starts from the lowest level to an unlimited fine. The factors the court will consider when determining the level of a fine will include speed, vehicle use, driver concentration, the driver medical condition, injury caused, damage caused and levels of traffic/pedestrians.

  • Will I Lose My Driving Licence If Convicted?

    The court can endorse your driving licence with 3-9 penalty points and have the discretion to disqualify if they find the offending was serious enough. Any discretionary disqualification will be for at least 6 months unless it can be demonstrated there are exceptional circumstances.

See how we can help you

?
Legal Service
Your details

By submitting this form I am agreeing to the full Privacy Policy of this website.