Careless driving can be defined as either driving without due care and attention, or driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that it is an offence to be guilty of driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place “without due care and attention”. This also includes “driving a vehicle on a public road without consideration for other road users”.
The hard fact that you have driven without “due care and attention” is hardly a legal slot that you can fit into, it’s a judgemental decision made by the police, and obviously every single case is different.
Should you be spotted using a mobile phone whilst driving, you have broken a specific law, and are open to the appropriate punishment, should you be spotted eating a sandwich, or changing a CD, you have broken no specific law, but a charge of careless driving could be heading your way.
Similarly, lighting a cigarette, or putting on a dash of lipstick could land you with a charge of careless driving if the police believe you’re not in control of your vehicle as a result.
There are those drivers whose conduct may well end up in an undue care and attention situation, and think themselves lucky not to have hit the next legal level of “dangerous driving”, but there are those who may feel that the police may have been over zealous in their accusations.
So obviously the offence covers a large area of definition, as “due care” doesn’t fit neatly into a slot, and a court will decide if your actions amount to careless driving depending on the circumstances of each case.
The court will decide if a motorist has driven due care and attention if their driving has not followed the standard that the court believe would have been exercised by a competent and reasonable driver.
A charge will result in prosecution in the Magistrates court, and the result is normally a fine and between three and nine penalty points on your license. If you decide to defend your offence allegations in court, ask leading motoring solicitors www.pattersonlaw.co.uk for their expert advice and the best way to represent yourself.