Motoring law: What to do if you are charged with careless driving

The UK’s roads are busy and every time we take to the road in our vehicle, the journey calls for our undivided focus and attention. However, there are times, when, for whatever reason, our attention may waver, or we make a poor decision when behind the wheel. These instances, often split second-moments, could result in a charge of careless driving which can have far-reaching consequences.

What constitutes careless driving?

Careless driving covers a multitude of on the road acts which sees drivers fall below the standards expected of a competent driver. This could include driving too close to another vehicle, nipping through traffic lights on a red light or overtaking on the inside lane.

Some acts of careless driving are viewed more harshly than others. For example, driving at excessive speed, damaging other vehicles or driving carelessly around built up areas, such as near a school, are likely to result in a stiffer penalty.

There is no comprehensive list of careless driving acts, but any breach of the Highway Code can be considered an act of careless driving.

What penalty can you expect from a careless driving charge?

The charge of careless driving, or driving without due care and attention as it is sometimes known, can attract a range of penalties depending on the act itself and the circumstances. In many cases driving training will be offered which sees the driver attended a ‘driver awareness course’ to help prevent future Highway Code breaches.

Careless driving charges often result in a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). In accepting a FPN you are agreeing that you did commit the offence and agree to pay the fine and accept points on your licence. If you do not agree with the charge you can reject the FPN and you will then need to appear in court.

However, the charge could also carry a penalty of disqualification, a £2500 fine or attract between three to nine points. In such instances the case will go to court and it is important you get legal representation to advise and guide you through the process. 

What to do if you are caught driving carelessly

There are two ways in which you can be caught driving carelessly; either stopped by the police where you will be issued with a FPN there and then, or by camera, in which case the police will issue you a notice to prosecute within 14 days.

In either scenario you have two options, either:

  1. accept the charge and the penalty
  2. contest it in court.

If you have been caught and charged with careless driving, you are likely to be concerned about how this will impact your life. We understand that the idea of potentially losing your licence, or receiving a large fine is extremely worrying. We adopt a caring approach to our cases, working with our clients every step of the way and avoid needless legal jargon.

Our experienced motoring offence solicitors use their legal know-how and expertise to get the best possible result considering the charges being faced.

If you’d like to find out more about the legal services offered by Smith Partnership, don’t hesitate to contact us via Alternatively, speak to a member of our team directly on 0330 123 1229.

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