Careless Driving

The offence of driving without due care and attention, or careless driving as it is sometimes known, is committed when the standard of a person’s driving falls below that expected of a competent and careful driver in all the circumstances.

This charge can often be brought following a road traffic accident, but this is not a requirement. Likewise, simply being involved in a road traffic accident does not necessarily mean that you were careless.

There is no definitive list of actions deemed to be careless driving, but common examples include: 

  • Driving at an inappropriate speed for the conditions
  • Undertaking other vehicles
  • Tailgating (driving too close to the vehicle in front of you)
  • Poor lane discipline and pulling out in front of other vehicles
  • Carrying out other tasks whilst driving (i.e. eating or reading)
  • Being distracted when driving (i.e. by other passengers or things outside the car)
  • Not indicating 

Acts considered to be careless could also lead to charges of driving without reasonable consideration when it is shown that other persons using a road or public place are inconvenienced by the manner of your driving. 

Careless Driving does carry penalty points, but these are automatic i.e. they are imposed by the Department of Transport following conviction and are not something the Court has any control over. 

Careless Driving can carry a disqualification from driving, but unlike Dangerous Driving the disqualification is not mandatory i.e. the Judge has a discretion as to whether they impose such a sanction or not. Whether the Judge decides to exercise their discretion not to disqualify the driver will depend on the facts of the case as well as an assessment of the “justice of the case” i.e. whether, on balance, the public interest is served by you being disqualified from driving.