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Careless Driving and Driving Without Due Care and Attention
At JMW, our expert motoring offence solicitors have years of experience representing clients who have been accused of careless driving. If you feel you have grounds for contesting an offence, have particular mitigating circumstances or feel that a disqualification would have a disproportionately negative effect on your life, consulting a solicitor should be your first step for advice and possible representation.
Many people who are charged with offences of this nature believe they have no choice but to accept the accusation and impending punishment, which can include a fine of up to £5,000, and three to nine points on their driving licence or a disqualification.
This is not always the case, however. Our team of lawyers knows this area of the law - and the various defences that may be applicable to your specific case - inside-out.
Careless driving is defined by the law as driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place.
This means driving in a manner that falls below what would be expected of a competent or careful driver, and causing other people to be inconvenienced by your driving.
There are a number of examples of careless driving practices that could be deemed an offence, including:
- Lane hogging
- Handbrake turns
- Eating/drinking while driving
- Operating a sat nav while driving
- Driving too fast
- Overtaking and forcing other vehicles to brake
- Ignoring road signs
- Driving through a red light
- Using a mobile phone while driving
However, the law surrounding the driving without due care offence is constantly changing, as unprecedented cases are often taken to court.
Careless driving became a fixed-penalty offence in 2013, although the most serious offences will still lead to court summons. The possible penalties for this offence are:
- Fixed penalty - offered when police officers observe low-level careless driving that does not cause a collision or injury to a member of the public. Fixed penalties are either endorsable (leading to a fine and points on your licence) or non-endorsable (a lower fine but no points on your licence). You can either accept the punishment on the spot or plead not guilty and have the case heard in the Magistrates Court.
- Fixed penalty with offer of educational training - offered in similar situations to a regular fixed penalty, but in this case you will be offered to choose between taking a fixed penalty or attending an educational driving course. Refusing or not attending the course and not accepting the fixed penalty will lead to court summons.
- Summons - offered in situations where the driver has been particularly aggressive or dangerous. You can either plead guilty and accept the fine or plead not guilty and take the case to the Magistrates Court.
- Summons with offer of educational training - You will be given the choice to accept and attend the course. Refusing will lead to a court hearing.
The maximum penalties for careless driving are:
- Three to nine penalty points
- A £2,500 fine
- Discretionary disqualification
There are two fatal offences that are caused by careless driving:
- Death by careless driving
- Death by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs
For more information about fatal driving offences, visit this page.
Our specialist motoring solicitors have many years of experience helping those who have been accused of careless driving, and our intervention often results in a reduced penalty for the accused.
No matter what the reason for the allegations against you, we can help. Our experts also provide comprehensive legal advice to those accused of not being in full control of their vehicle or driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.
Partner and Head of Department
Business Crime, Regulation & Driving Offences