Careless Driving Offence

About Careless Driving or Driving Without Due Care and Attention

Careless driving is the name commonly used to refer to the offence of Driving without Due Care and Attention. Other names for Careless Driving include: undue care, reckless driving and inconsiderate driving.

If you are convicted of this offence, the court must impose a minimum of 3 penalty points on your licence. There are exceptions to this which we can advise you about. If you were not stopped at the time and there was no accident, you should receive a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) warning you about prosecution for careless driving.

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Driver Awareness Courses

If the case is not serious and if you are eligible, the police may offer you a driver awareness course for careless driving. This is entirely at the police’s discretion, but we may be able to persuade them to offer you a course depending on the circumstances.

If you would like to know more please contact us today.

Single Justice Procedure Notices

If someone was injured, your case is more serious or you have too many points on your licence, you will receive a Single Justice Procedure Notice for driving without due care and attention.

The court will decide whether you need to attend a hearing.

If you would like to know more please visit Single Justice Procedure Notice

Court Hearings

All careless driving offences are dealt with in the Magistrates Court except for appeals which are dealt with in the Crown Court. You cannot go to prison for careless driving unless you have caused someone’s death.

For more information please see our FAQs on careless driving offences below.

Careless Driving Summary

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Legal Definition

Driving of a standard that falls below that of a careful and competent driver

Main Legislation

Section 3 Road Traffic Act 1988

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Maximum Penalties

Driving Penalties: 3-9 penalty points, or driving ban (no maximum).

Fine: Unlimited.

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Court

Magistrates only (unless an appeal)

Imprisonable? No – unless you cause someone’s death making it a different offence of causing death by careless driving.

Do you need help protecting your driving licence?

Talk to us today about how we can help you with your driving offence.

Careless Driving Offence FAQs

What do the police have to prove for careless driving?

To obtain a conviction, the prosecution must show that the standard of your driving dropped below that of a careful and competent driver. This gives the prosecution a very low hurdle to get over. Most people will probably admit that at some point their standard of driving will drop below that of a competent and careful driver. Fortunately for them, if they are not seen and/or lucky enough not to be involved in an incident, there will be no criminal consequences.

Often a prosecution for careless driving will be reliant upon witness testimony and sometimes it can be one driver’s word against another’s. On other occasions, there may be a collision report or even a mechanical report.

What is the standard of a careful and competent driver?

The law states that the test is an objective one. What that means is that it doesn’t matter what the driver him/herself thinks about the standard his/her driving. What matters is what a reasonable person would consider reasonable in the circumstances. The fact that a driver has not long passed his test does not excuse him from driving carelessly (although it may be mitigation). The driving must be judged at the time of the incident. Therefore the question is: “were his actions reasonable in the circumstances?”. It does not matter that with hindsight, he may have acted differently.

Will I be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) for Careless Driving?

Unless you were stopped at the time or involved in an accident, the police must send a Notice of Intended Prosecution to the registered keeper or driver so that it arrives within 14 days. The Notice of Intended Prosecution is usually combined with a request for driver information. If you do not respond to the request, you are likely to be convicted of an offence of failing to give driver details. That offence carries 6 points or a discretionary disqualification.

Can the Police disqualify me from driving?

No. The police have no power to impose a driving disqualification. The police can only offer fixed penalties which carry points and a fine depending on the offence. You do not have to accept fixed penalties if you do not accept the offence. Only courts can impose driving disqualifications.

Are there any examples of careless driving?

This list is by no means exhaustive, but examples of careless driving include: overtaking on the inside or driving inappropriately close to another vehicle; inadvertent mistakes such as driving through a red light, turning right into the path of an oncoming vehicle, or emerging from a side road into the path of another vehicle; or short distractions such as tuning a car radio or programming a sat nav. It doesn’t have to be much to be classed as careless driving. It’s often just a momentary negligent error of judgment or a single negligent manoeuvre, which in reality all of us have probably made at some point. Some of us have just been lucky, in that nothing more serious happened as a result so that we didn’t face a careless driving allegation.

Are there any defences to careless driving?

There are a number of defences to careless driving which has been put forward in the past, but very few were successful. Obviously, the usual defence is that the standard of driving did not drop below a careful and competent driver. Here are some less common examples of submitted defences: Falling asleep was not successful because the driver should have stopped when he knew he was tired. Mechanical defects can be successful but evidence of the defect will need to be produced. In addition, the defect must not have been obvious to a careful driver. Sudden loss of visibility may be a defence but only where it is very sudden. A driver who loses his vision should stop driving immediately. Automatism eg. through illness can be a defence, but if the driver knows that he is suffering from an illness likely seriously to affect his control of the car and drives, he is guilty. Necessity or Duress may be successful, but the need or duress must justify the act ie. the way in which the vehicle was driven.

Do I need a solicitor for a careless driving offence?

At the very least, you should really get some advice. We can advise you on an appropriate plea and give you genuine honest advice about the prospects of success of your case should you have a defence. Of course, the ultimate decision to defend an allegation is yours. Remember that the question of whether someone has committed an offence of careless driving is a matter of law to be applied to the facts. If it appears you accept the allegation or that the evidence against you is very strong, we can put forward the best possible mitigation on your behalf, to keep any penalty imposed to an absolute minimum. Often those who or are facing allegations of careless driving, also facing allegations of failing to stop failing or report after an accident. Of course, these allegations make the issue even more serious, and it is even more important to seek legal advice.

Relevant Cases

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Mission DanMission Dan
09:07 25 Jun 22
Absolutely saved my business. Took on my case, were direct from the start, kept me informed and worked behind the scenes to push my case and get my license returned, despite a somewhat archaic court house. You can tell pragma are specialists in this field and i genuinely recommend them 100% (thanks to lucy, david and claire) you saved my bacon
hayley smithhayley smith
12:14 15 Jun 22
Lucy was extremely thorough , professional and very emphatic. She always took the time to make everything totally clear and gave excellent guidance throughout.My son was facing a charge of death by dangerous driving. His sentenced was reduced to a suspended one with the help of Lucy and her teams expertise.This is a rare outcome.We are enormously grateful for her support and patience throughout the case, and can not recommend her highly enough!
Atanas CAtanas C
18:51 26 May 22
Just out of few miles.As we wheel around we do step at times on the lines labelled as traffic law. You could be fine at the moment but the sweet moment does not last. Out of just a few miles, the minute problem starts snowballing to a self-unmanageable level. Paper from traffic police paper from the court, bitter mouth, the clock is ticking and nothing sensible comes to mind of what to write to the court rep. When a problem starts simmering and climes we tend to run out of fit ideas. Some call it panicking and I agree. Pragma law has a different set of remedies for similar situations. And I am sharing this from experience. Lucy from Pragma listened to my story and said the problem is not as big as my mixed at the time mind thought it was. ‘’Leave with me and answer my emails timely and don’t worry’’ she said. Six weeks later I was out of the mud. Just like that, …out of a few miles.
Combe ClovisCombe Clovis
09:51 26 May 22
I just want to say thank you so much for your support for your help and advice, I really appreciate your services I was panicking, i couldn't sleep for properly because the thoughts l couldn't imagine losing my licence or getting banned for 6 months because l drive for living getting banned for 6 months means loosing my income for 6 months therefore loosing my home and get into really hardship so I really appreciate prgma low and special thanks to Mr David swingler who was there for me and advice me and defend my case really well and win the case for me instead of 6 months disqualification I got 14 days this for me it was big win thanks to David Swingler and Pragma Low.
Ismail KhanIsmail Khan
15:13 03 May 22
Very diligent, professional and helpful. Lucy prioritised us as our case was time-sensitive and was very prompt and accessible at all times whenever we needed to communicate with her. She helped us get the best possible outcome. Highly recommended!
Neil BrittonNeil Britton
14:33 23 Apr 22
Their pricing is less than that of other specialists.David did a great job of defending me in court.They communicated well and went out of their way to help.Couldn't recommend these solicitors enough.10/10
Michael GillespieMichael Gillespie
17:09 21 Apr 22
Fantastic service and representation. Great result.
Fahd The REAPER MoenisFahd The REAPER Moenis
19:24 20 Feb 22
Lucy is really professional and i was so relaxed and happy to deal with her
shaun allmanshaun allman
17:51 02 Feb 22
Great service, communication and informative with all the advice given to me. Very much will recommend to all my family and friends should they ever need a trustworthy and professional solicitor to help with advice and proceedings with motoring offences.
Filip Rares-NicolaeFilip Rares-Nicolae
18:17 24 Jan 22
Absolutely amazing from start to finish.Was extremely worried about a situation I had got myself in.Was a very very nervous time for me as losing my license would have meant I lost everything including my job.Pragma Law team was helpful, professional, clear and thorough from the outset.It was Lucy Whitaker who represented me in court and I cant stress enough how fantastic she was in that court room. I received the best possible outcome and kept my license. Without her I would of undoubtedly lost my license.As far as I am concerned this was a one off and will never ever happen again, however if I ever was in any situation of this kind in the future there is no where else I would turn.Can not recommend highly enough!
a tanasa tanas
18:02 25 Nov 21
Working with Lucy Whitaker as my lawyer has been the best thing I could have ever done. She sorted out my problem as BEST and i truly recommend her to anyone that needs to solve car problems.Flavia Campilli
Joseph PaynterJoseph Paynter
16:18 12 Nov 21
I recently had a case involving an E-Scooter, unfortunately I committed an offence that I didn't even know was illegal. I contacted Pragma Law after reading reviews and outcomes of similar cases, and was put into contact with Lucy Whitaker. Lucy was very professional throughout the whole process, and was very realistic with me about my outcome from the initial phone call. The consultation was extremely through and well carried out, and Lucy was always available to contact if I had any questions. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome from the court after Lucy's representation- from the potential of a suspended sentence reduced to a ban on the lower end of the range, and without a community order. In the court room Lucy was very good at explaining to the Magistrates that the seriousness of the case was nothing like what the sentencing guidelines were designed to punish for (driving a car) and this is what got my punishment reduced. The prices are reasonable, and transparent from the initial phone call with no hidden costs. Would definitely recommend.
Tim NVTim NV
14:43 14 Oct 21
Was really impressed with PL and Lucy. Was given great advice (which I wouldn’t have been able to obtain without guidance) throughout the whole process. Every time we communicated over the phone it was followed up with a written email with actions, next steps etc. was also fortunate enough to work with her colleague David too who represented my case where I avoided a ban of 6 months.
Abi CorsiAbi Corsi
16:39 14 Sep 21
Lucy is the best lawyer I could have possibly found. I unexpectedly received a letter from the police who at the time intended to prosecute me for driving an electric scooter without insurance, and without a license. I was terrified as if found guilty, I would receive 6 penalty points and would have lost my drivers license. Other solicitors I called said unfortunately there was nothing they could do. Lucy on the other hand immediately reassured me and wrote a letter to the police which persuaded them to drop the charges completely. I honestly can’t recommend her enough. Thank you Lucy!
Aziz AbilovAziz Abilov
15:29 31 Aug 21
I contacted Pragma Law when I wanted to appeal against a decision made in the Magistrates court. Lucy had picked up my case and advised me on the next steps. She helped me with everything that was required, advised me on all possible outcomes of the appeal, helped me get my licence back until the appeal hearing comes along, and then went ahead and got the appeal accepted in the Crown court. She is not only the best solicitor I’ve worked with, but she is also a wonderful human being. Very lovely and easy to work with, even the judges loved her! I 100% recommend you to contact them with any issues you have.
Asad AhmedAsad Ahmed
15:41 21 May 21
5* have dealt with lucy twice now! Very professional. Knows what shes doing! Would definitely recommend!
Bobby CharlesBobby Charles
19:05 07 Feb 21
I have had an extremely positive experience with Lucy Whittaker. She is very knowledgeable, very proactive and always explains things in a clear and precise.She was able to convince the court to drop a driving without due care charge despite the police and the CPS disareeing.I would hesitate to recommend Lucy and Pragma Law anyone who needs assistance.
harry bedderharry bedder
15:53 16 Dec 20
Fantastic Service provided by Lucy, very profesional and quick at getting you answers and providing the help you might need! I will definitly be recomening Pragma Law to anyone I know that has a motoring proplem please do the same...
Jobin Mathew JosephJobin Mathew Joseph
18:11 25 Nov 20
Absolutely brilliant! 100 percent reliable! The case was related to driving matter and I had initially approached few other solicitors for help with my case. They all denied saying we would not win the case. But Lucy happily took the case and help me win the case with the best possible outcome.She puts you at ease and confidence. Very responsive in your queries. She genuinely care for case and very pleasant to deal with. Always well prepared and wins you the best possible outcome. Very Very Strongly recommend. Thanks much Lucy.
Lewis CobleyLewis Cobley
11:12 05 Nov 20
I highly recommend Pragma Law for any motoring problem. They were very efficient and professional even with little time to prepare.
A Google User
A Google User
14:30 04 Jul 20
What can I say about pragma law and Lucy whitaker, 1st class absolutely brilliant!!!. I had my licence revoked last October due to vasovagal syncope (faint) from the word go Lucy was brilliant, and I only dealt with her, she explained everything, in every stage extremely professional in everything she does, and had my licence back. What a result!!! thank you so much Lucy.
hannah vanessahannah vanessa
15:45 15 Jun 20
I suffer with anxiety (as many) and this incident completely took over my life for months until I met Lucy. I was super comfortable and confident in her work as she was very professional and was always available to help. Really helped take the stress away - thanks Lucy and thanks Pragma!
Wayne DaviesWayne Davies
14:51 08 Jun 20
What can I say about pragma law and Lucy whitaker, 1st class absolutely brilliant!!!. I had my licence revoked last October due to vasovagal syncope (faint) from the word go Lucy was brilliant, and I only dealt with her, she explained everything, in every stage extremely professional in everything she does, and had my licence back. What a result!!! thank you so much Lucy.
Rukhsar LatifRukhsar Latif
13:59 19 May 20
Lucy genuinly cares about her clients she took on my case dealt with everything herself and won my case I couldn't be happier with the results and the service. I will definitely be using Pragma Law again if needs be.
Vicky ClarkeVicky Clarke
20:16 03 Mar 20
I couldn't have hoped for a better solicitor. Lucy did everything she could to get the best possible outcome for me, and I can't thank her enough
Paul MercerPaul Mercer
17:19 31 Jan 20
Lucy Whitaker provided an impressive, cost effective service. She was objective, responded quickly to questions and, I believe, offered the best advice before efficiently dealing with a case as it came to court.I would have no hesitation either in using Lucy again, should the need arise, or recommending her services.
Rebecca HodkinsonRebecca Hodkinson
16:33 19 Nov 19
Lucy represented me in a driving case and I couldn't be happier. She was friendly, professional and pragmatic without giving me false hope. The outcome was a more positive one than I expected and that's down to her advice and detailed preparations. Would highly recommend! Thank you Lucy!
Gary SykesGary Sykes
22:12 04 Oct 19
We were so impressed with Lucy Whitaker. She represented our son in an unusual driving case which thanks to her knowledge, care & understanding, ended in a much better than expected outcome. Clear, concise & professional, we highly recommend her... can't thank her enough!!
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