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Driving without due care and attention (careless driving)

We are Specialist Careless Driving Solicitors

At Caddick Davies Solicitors we specialise in the representation of motorists charged with driving without due care and attention, more commonly known as “careless driving” and have successfully defended many motorists charged with this offence.

The offence of careless driving is committed if the standard of your driving falls below what would be expected of a “competent and careful driver“.

Whether or not your driving is considered to have fallen below this standard is objective and common examples would include the following:

  • Tailgating (driving inappropriately close to the vehicle in front)
  • Undertaking (overtaking on the inside)
  • Colliding with another vehicle (where a driver is at fault)
  • Emerging from a side road into the path of another vehicle.
  • Middle lane hogging

The penalty for this offence includes a fine of up to £5,000 and the endorsement of between 3 and 9 penalty points or discretionary disqualification.

If you find yourself with a Fixed Penalty or Summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court for this offence, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help you.

Below you will find information on Careless Driving Law, How We Can Help and Commonly Asked Questions About Careless Driving.

Careless Driving Law

Penalty for Careless Driving 

The penalty for Careless Driving before a Magistrates’ Court is a fine up to a maximum of £5,000 and the endorsement of between 3 and 9 penalty points, with the possibility of disqualification from driving.

In some cases the police may offer a Fixed Penalty Notice in the alternative to a formal prosecution, which carries a £100.00 penalty and the endorsement of 3 penalty points.

As a further alternative, all police forces in England and Wales offer a “driver improvement course” for careless driving in the alternative to either a Fixed Penalty Notice or formal prosecution.

If you find yourself with a Fixed Penalty or Summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court for Careless Driving, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help you.

Defences to Careless Driving 

Careless driving is a “strict liability” offence, which means that you commit the offence even if you had no intention to do so and it was simply an accident.

Defences will commonly include a factual dispute and may include the following:

1) My driving was not careless – the standard of my driving did not fall below that expected of a “competent and careful” driver;
2) My vehicle was subject to a mechanical defect of which I was unaware; and
3) It is a care of mistaken identity – it was not my vehicle or I was not the driver.

Very technical defences of automatism may also be argued in more unusual cases, where the offence has occurred through an involuntary act e.g. if the driver has fallen unconscious because of a previously unknown medical condition.

If you find yourself with a Fixed Penalty Notice or Court Summons for the offence of Careless Driving, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help you.

Driver Improvement Course for Careless Driving 

The police may sometimes offer a motorist the chance of attending on a driver improvement course in the alternative to a Fixed Penalty Notice or formal prosecution for careless driving.

All police forces in England and Wales offer this course and it is a matter of discretion as to whether the course is offered. In exercising this discretion the police will usually refer to guidance issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

In general terms, subject to an assessment of the seriousness of an offence, a course may be offered if the motorist has not attended on a driver improvement course within the past 3 years.

These course usually last 1/2 day and cost between £85.00 and £120.00 (depending on the police force and course provider).

As general guidance a driver improvement course should not be accepted if you do not believe that you have committed any offence and you should be aware that accepting a driver improvement course may impact upon any insurance claim brought against you by another driver.

If you believe that you may be eligible for a driver improvement course and have not been offered this opportunity or you have been offered a course and do not know whether to accept it, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help you.

Fixed Penalty Notice for Careless Driving 

For some minor cases of Careless Driving including things such as undertaking, tailgating and middle lane hogging, the police may offer a Fixed Penalty Notice in the alternative to a formal prosecution.

A Fixed Penalty Notice for Careless Driving gives a penalty of £100.00 and 3 penalty points.

A Fixed Penalty Notice should only be accepted if you accept that you have committed the offence or do not wish to challenge the offence.

If you do not accept the Fixed Penalty Notice then this may be challenged by completing the reverse of the notice and requesting a court hearing. Please note that once a fixed penalty notice is paid and licence details provided, you cannot reject the notice.

If you have been offered a Fixed Penalty Notice and do not know whether to accept it, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help you.

Specialist Careless Driving Solicitor Representation

How we can help 

Using our expertise and experience we will undertake a thorough review of your case and identify any factual or technical defence which may be available. We will thoroughly prepare your case and present a strong defence before the court. If the court accept your defence you will be acquitted and no punishment will be imposed. We will also seek to recover the cost of your legal representation by way of a defendant cost order – Your acquittal will cost you nothing!

If you do not have a defence we will present persuasive mitigation to the court on your behalf and will seek to minimise both the fine and penalty points imposed.

If you find yourself with a Fixed Penalty or Summonsed to appear before the court for Careless Driving, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help you.

Commonly Asked Questions About Careless Driving

I Did Not Drive Carelessly - How Can I Prove My Innocence? 

Through the thorough preparation of your case we will put a strong argument before the court that the standard of your driving has not fallen below that of a careful and competent driver. We will take detailed statements from both yourself and any other witness who may assist your case and trace any witness who is not known to you. Where appropriate we will instruct an expert to attend the scene of the alleged offence and prepare a report in support of your case.

If you find yourself with a Fixed Penalty or Summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court for Careless Driving, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help you.

I Accept I Made A Mistake and Drove Carelessly - Can I Go On A Driver Improvement Course? 

In some cases the police may immediately offer you the opportunity to attend on a nationally approved driver improvement course in the alternative to prosecution. If you complete the course, no formal action will be take against you and you will not receive any points on your license.

The course typically costs between £85 and £120 and lasts for 1 1/2 days.

If you reject the offer to attend on the course you can still challenge the prosecution against you before the court.

If the police have not offered you the chance to attend on a driver improvement course and have moved straight to prosecution and you want the opportunity to attend on a course, we can make representations to the prosecution that you should be allowed to attend on a driver improvement course. If the prosecution and the police agree to this, the case against you will be dropped once you have completed the course and you will receive no penalty points. You may even be eligible for a Defendant Costs Order so that we can recover the costs of your legal representation.

If you find yourself with a Fixed Penalty or Summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court for Careless Driving, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help you.

My Vehicle Suffered A Mechanical Defect Which Caused The Driving Complained Of - How Do I Prove This? 

If the driving alleged to be careless was caused by a defect in your vehicle which was unknown to you and you could not have identified with reasonable prudence, you should be acquitted of the offence. To prove your innocence we will thoroughly prepare your case and instruct an expert vehicle examiner to inspect your vehicle and to present supporting evidence before the court. We will put the strongest possible defence to the court on your behalf.

If you find yourself with a Fixed Penalty or Summonsed to appear before the Magistrates’ Court for Careless Driving, please contact us for advice and a no obligation consultation on how we can help you.

Case Study

Mr Williams (name changed for confidentiality) was prosecuted before Willesden (Brent) Magistrates Court for an offence of driving without due care and attention.

The prosecution arose from an incident in which Mr Williams had turned right into a supermarket car park, across the path of an oncoming motorcyclist. This resulted in a serious collision and hospitalisation of the motorcyclist, however fortunately, he did not suffer serious injury.

Mr Williams accepted that the accident was his fault and that the standard of his driving had fallen below that expected of the careful and competent driver. The incident however, was clearly unintentional and he was worried about the possibility of losing his driving license as he relied upon it for his work.

Having heard this account, we adjourned the proceedings at court in order for us to make representations to the Crown Prosecution Service, that this was a case which could properly be addressed by Mr Williams attending a driver improvement course instead of prosecution.

After a period of time and a number of adjournments, the Crown Prosecution Service accepted our submissions and Mr Williams was allowed to attend on a driver improvement course. As a result the proceedings against him were discontinued and dismissed by the court. He was also granted a Defendant Costs Order which allowed us to recover his legal costs on his behalf.

 

Mr Williams, Greater London