What Is Considered Careless and Dangerous Driving in UK Law and Why Does It Matter?

Careless and dangerous driving in UK law

There are several driving offences pertaining to how you’re driving in the UK, all of which come under two categories. These categories include careless and dangerous driving. Dangerous driving can pose a greater potential risk to the safety of the driver, other vehicular traffic, and pedestrians than careless driving. Therefore, cases of dangerous driving typically carry a greater penalty than those of careless driving. This article highlights what is considered careless and dangerous driving in UK law and why you should know about it.

Careless and Dangerous Driving in UK Law

If you are behind the wheel on the road (provided you have a driver’s licence), the law in the UK expects you to adhere to a minimum standard of driving. Failing to meet those standards leads to careless or dangerous driving, both of which are punishable by law. You should note that this law is applicable to all motor vehicles on the road, including motorcycles.

What Is Considered Careless Driving

Careless driving, according to UK law, is the act of giving less than reasonable consideration to other road users. Therefore, you can be penalised by the law if you perform any of the specific behaviours mentioned below.

  • Using your mobile phone while driving or being distracted by something inside your vehicle
  • Tailgating
  • Braking suddenly
  • Not looking properly, especially when taking turns
  • Allowing your attention to be diverted away from the road because of something outside of your vehicle—rubbernecking is an example of this
  • Getting on another driver’s path
  • Overtaking another vehicle from the inside

Penalties for Careless Driving

Being charged with careless driving may lead to different types of penalties, which include the following.

  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • Driving disqualification
  • Between 3 and 9 penalty points

What Is Considered Dangerous Driving

As mentioned above, dangerous driving in the UK is a little more extreme than careless driving. Thus, it entails behaviours that actively put your life or the lives of others within your car or on the road at risk. Examples of dangerous driving include the following.

  • Driving over speed limits, driving aggressively, or racing other drivers
  • Overtaking other vehicles dangerously
  • Driving a vehicle that you know has a major fault or hauling an unsafe load
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or drink—prescription drugs included
  • Not following road signs, traffic lights, or passengers’ warnings
  • Driving while being physically unfit to do so, including being unable to see clearly, injured, fatigued, etc.
  • Allowing your attention to be diverted by something in the car

Penalties for Dangerous Driving

Being charged with dangerous driving may lead to different types of penalties, which include the following.

  • A fine with no upper limit
  • Driving disqualification for at least 2 years
  • Between 3 and 11 penalty points
  • Possible imprisonment

Final Words

Being charged with careless and dangerous driving in UK law can have significant penalties. So, if you believe you are being wrongfully persecuted, get legal representation to fight your case.