Driving without due care and attention

This offence is usually called "careless driving." If you are charged with driving without due care and attention you may be facing the possibility of anything from three penalty points, to a lengthy ban. 

Careless driving, is driving that falls below the standard to be expected of a reasonably competent and careful driver. In all cases, it is a matter for the Magistrates to decide: (1) Did you in fact drive in the way the prosecution say?  (2) Did your driving fall short of the required standard? 


Take a look at this video in which I explain this in more detail.


Departing from the standard of driving required by the Highway Code does not of itself amount to the offence - but to have departed from the Highway Code may be powerful evidence of the offence. It will certainly assist your case if you can prove that you were indeed driving in accordance with the Highway Code.


Prosecutions for this offence will typically result from observations by the police, for example "poor lane discipline", "undertaking" or "erratic driving" or from an incident complained of by another motorist (such as a minor accident). Prosecutions frequently result when the police are called to the scene of an accident and decide, on the basis of the accounts given to them by witnesses, that a driver's lack of care was the cause of the accident. 


In effect, where the prosecution are able to prove that a person's driving resulted in a collision, the court may infer that it resulted from driving without due care and attention: it will be for the defendant to show that there was some other cause (e.g. mechanical failure of which he was unaware, or taking prudent action taken to forestall an even greater danger.)


Penalties for Careless Driving

Disqualification for careless driving is discretionary, but a there is a mandatory penalty of  at least three points.

Careless driving offences involving momentary inattention or lapses of concentration at low speed will normally attract no more than three points.

Where the driver lost of control owing to excess speed (whether over any speed limit or not), paid insufficient attention to road or traffic conditions, or manoeuvred carelessly in moving traffic, the penalty is likely to be between 4 and 6 points.

Penalties of 7 to 9 points are reserved for careless manoeuvres at speed resulting in collisions, or driving bordering on the dangerous.

The seriousness of the offence is also reflected in the fine that the bench will impose in addition to points.