Wondering what the driving offences in the UK are? Read on to find out!

From drunk driving and texting and driving to speeding and reckless driving to not carrying the appropriate documents, countless reckless actions fall under the scope of a driving offence. Plus, certain behaviours result in multiple offences that could lead you to face a lot of legal trouble.

So, without ado, let’s look at what counts as a driving offence in the UK under the Road Traffic Act 1988!

Driving Offences in the UK

Here are all the driving offences you can make in the United Kingdom:

Dangerous Driving

Dangerous driving is a driving offence under section 2 of the Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988. A person commits this offence when their driving falls way below the standard of competent driving expected from a careful and proficient driver, and their driving is deemed as outwardly dangerous. Behaviours that fall under this offence include racing, speeding, driving aggressively, ignoring traffic lights, dangerous overtaking, drunk driving, driving when unfit, driving when distracted, and more.

Careless Driving

Reckless or careless driving constitutes actions that result in driving without due attention. This offence is under section 3 of the RTA. A driver can commit this offence when their driving falls below the standard expected from a careful driver. Examples of careless driving include overtaking on the inside, driving through a red light by mistake, misusing lanes, driving too close to another car, turning into the path of another vehicle, distracted driving, flashing headlights needlessly, slow driving without reason, etc.

Driving Offences Involving Death

The most common driving offences in the UK that involve fatalities are caused by reckless, dangerous driving by careless drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other possible offences might be driving without a valid license, driving while disqualified, and aggressive driving.

Document Offences

A driver can also commit document offences while driving if they drive otherwise than in accordance with a license. Driving without a legitimate license covering their vehicle’s class, without insurance, or without an MOT certificate, will also constitute as a document offence. Moreover, under Section 172 of the RTA, a driver will commit an offence if they do not provide their personal identification information when they might have committed an offence.

Driving under the Influence

It is illegal to drive if the amount of alcohol in your breath, urine, or blood is more than the prescribed limit, and you’re unfit to drive due to drugs or alcohol in your system. If you do not provide a roadside specimen in the breath test or at a police station when suspected of driving under the influence, it’s a punishable offence.

Penalties for Driving Offences in the UK

The penalties the court charges depend on the type of driving offence committed. Here are some common penalties:

  • For Fatality due to Careless Driving Under the Influence:1 to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both, disqualified from driving for a minimum of two years
  • For Death due to Dangerous Driving:1 to 14 years in prison and disqualification for a minimum of two years
  • Fatality by Careless or Inconsiderate Driving:Up to five years in prison and a minimum 1-year disqualification
  • Death by Driving Unlicensed, Uninsured, or When Disqualified: up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine or both, a minimum 1-year disqualification
  • Manslaughter or Murder:Up to life imprisonment and a disqualification of a minimum of 2 years