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Been accused of careless driving?

Perhaps caused by a slip in concentration, we understand it’s possible for otherwise safe drivers to fall foul of the law on careless driving.

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Also known as driving without due care and attention, this kind of charge means your driving fell below the standard expected of a competent vehicle user.

New legislation introduced in 2013 gave the police powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving, but there are still a number of factors that indicate lower levels of blame or guilt.

What is careless driving?

The term careless driving, or driving without due care and attention, applies to standards of driving that range from momentary lapses of concentration or judgment, through to driving that borders on being dangerous. Examples include:

  • Fiddling with the radio or infotainment
  • Using a mobile phone
  • Setting the sat nav
  • Reading a map (or anything else)
  • Eating or drinking at the wheel
  • Adjusting your seating position
  • Allowing yourself to be distracted by passengers in the car
  • Driving aggressively
  • Tailgating
  • Overtaking on the left-hand side
  • Lane hogging
  • Not giving way where appropriate
  • Swerving across lanes
  • Using the wrong lane at a roundabout

The number of offences that can be classed as careless driving is very broad, encompassing everything from changing a CD in your car to actually colliding with another vehicle or even a person. 

If you are unsure about whether you were rightfully charged with an offence, speak to one of our advisors.

What are the penalties for careless driving?

The maximum penalty for an offence of careless driving is a fine of £5,000, but it may be more likely that between three and nine points will be added to your licence if the case goes to court and you are found guilty. In more serious cases you may be issued with a driving ban or a non-custodial sentence, such as community service.

The actual penalty depends on how serious the court judges your case to be and how well prepared your defence is.  

Incidents involving momentary lapses of concentration and poor judgement at lower speeds are likely to incur a penalty of three or four points and can even be avoided.

If the court finds that you lost control of your vehicle due to speed, mishandling, or insufficient attention to the road, or that you turned right across oncoming traffic, then your penalty is likely to be five or six points on your licence.

For more serious incidents of careless driving, such as overtaking at speed resulting in vehicles colliding, you’re likely to receive between seven and nine points, and a possible driving ban.

Causing death by careless driving is a far more serious charge, including the possibility of imprisonment.

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What are the defences to careless driving?

First4Lawyers’ specialist motoring offence solicitors can give you all the practical advice you need to make the best possible defence to any careless driving charges you are facing.

Your defence will be stronger if you can persuade the judge that your driving caused only a minor risk to yourself or other road users, you were an inexperienced driver at the time of the incident, or if there was a sudden change in the road or weather conditions.

Other factors that can help your defence might include any assistance you gave to people at the scene of the incident, if you behaved in a positive, helpful manner, and if you show remorse for any wrongdoing that occurred on your part.

If you have a previously good driving record this can help too, and if you can present evidence that strengthens the court’s view of your driving, such as any professional driving jobs you held in the past, this can also be beneficial to your case.

I’ve been given a careless driving charge that I want to dispute – what should I do?

As soon as you are given a charge, it is important to contact First4Lawyers so that we can look into your case.

A charge of careless driving may not automatically lead to a ban or severe penalty, however it is essential that you seek the right advice as soon as possible in order to mitigate the outcome of any charges.

Our advisors are available to talk through your case and match you to the most appropriate and suitably experienced motoring offence solicitor to discuss what steps you should take. Simply get in touch.

Get in touch today to discuss your requirements 08005677866

How to guides

Learn more about this area of the law and what you need to know:

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