Careless Driving Penalties and Law

Careless driving as defined by police authorities and legal bodies as driving without due care and attention, and usually without reasonable consideration for other road users.

Careless Driving Penalties and Law
Careless Driving Penalties and Law

Careless driving covers many motoring offences but in general a driver may be stopped by the police, accused or convicted by court of careless driving if their driving falls below an expected safe standard where as a result, may put others at risk. Careless driving statistics show that 57% of those 16,000 drivers convicted each year of the offence, drove in this manner on a day-to-day basis and that 75% said they were surprised to be convicted of the offence.

Over 300 accidents occur each year on UK dues due the careless driving and without reasonable consideration for other road users. Due to such a high number of poor driving skills, the government are proposing to offer offenders of less serious cases of careless driving remedial training in place of penalty points on their licence.

Careless driving examples

Both careless driving and the more serious offence of dangerous driving can be applied to an road traffic incident caused either deliberately or by accident. Careless driving takes many forms from minor to major offences. Some typical careless driving examples and possible reasons may include but not limited to:

  • following too closely to the vehicle in front (tailgating)
  • lacking in road observation and braking suddenly
  • overtaking a vehicle on the nearside (undertaking a vehicles on the left)
  • accidentally driving through a red light
  • use of vehicle controls, other equipment or reading a map that affects a drivers ability to control the vehicle
  • distracted by eating, drinking or smoking whilst driving
  • slowing down to watch an accident

Examples that may include ‘without reasonable consideration for other road users’

  • driving too slowly for the conditions
  • unnecessarily remaining in an overtaking lane
  • misuse of vehicle lighting – not using dipped headlights appropriately
  • changing lanes erratically or moving into an unsuitable gap

Careless driving resulting in death

Where careless driving results in a death, penalties will be harsher. ‘Causing death by careless driving’ is a newer offence and was introduced in the 2006 Road Safety Act.

Careless driving penalty

The penalty for careless driving varies considerably. If stopped by the police, the incident was minor and did not affect any other persons or property, a warning may be issued with no further action. More serious cases or where your actions affect other road users, pedestrians or property, you will receive either a Notice of Intended Prosecution detailing the offence, or a court summons will be issued. The careless driving offence attracts between 3-9 penalty points, a fine of up to £2,500.

The amount of penalty points obtained up to a maximum of 9 and the amount an offender will be fined up to a maximum of £2, 500 depends on the seriousness of the offence and is determined by the court. A discretionary driving licence disqualification may also be imposed for serious offences. Causing death by careless driving will see a mandatory licence disqualification and the option of a custodial sentence.

Careless driving ban

A discretionary careless driving ban is determined by the court and may see the offender with a driving ban from several weeks up to two years. Causing death by careless driving will see the offender faced with an obligatory driving ban of two years.

Careless driving fine

The fine for careless driving is determined by the court and may range from a relatively nominal amount to a maximum of £2,500. The fine for causing death by careless driving is unlimited. New laws allow for the police to issue drivers for less serious offences such as tailgating and middle lane hogging a £100 fine and three penalty points. For these less serious offences, there will be no requirement to attend court.

Careless driving points

Careless driving penalty points if convicted in court range from 3 – 9 and penalty points for Causing death by careless driving range from 3 to 11.

Careless driving sentences

Causing death by careless driving has a maximum custodial sentence of 14 years.

Careless driving code

Careless driving conviction codes are located on the paper counterpart of a drivers licence along with the amount of time the offence must remain on the licence. Conviction codes CD10 – CD30 must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the offence.

CodeDriving offencePenalty points
CD10Driving without due care and attention3 to 9
CD20Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users3 to 9
CD30Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration
for other road users
3 to 9

Conviction codes CD40 – CD70 must stay on a driving licence for 11 years from the date of the conviction.

CodeDriving offencePenalty points
CD40Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink3 to 11
CD50Causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs3 to 11
CD60Causing death by careless driving with alcohol level above legal limit3 to 11
CD70Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a
specimen for alcohol analysis
3 to 11

Conviction codes CD80 and CD90 must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the conviction.

CodeDriving offencePenalty points
CD80Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate driving3 to 11
CD90Causing death by driving unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured3 to 11

Careless driving law

Many drivers who are stopped by police or are convicted of careless driving are unaware of their insufficient and poor driving skills, and by imposing a fine and penalty points will likely not rectify those issues. The careless driving law as it currently stands puts heavy workload on police forces and courts. To increase driving skills, the government is proposing a Fixed Penalty Notice – typically 3 to 6 penalty points and a £100 fine or the option to attend a remedial training course paid for by the offender for less serious careless driving offences.

Careless driving insurance increase

Car insurance companies view careless drivers or those driving without due care and attention as an accident waiting to happen. So it’s no surprise that those convicted of careless driving see a large insurance increase. Convicted drivers are typically going to see almost a 30% increase on their current car insurance premiums. The increase on insurance can often far exceed the original fine imposed, especially considering the penalty points remain on a drivers licence for a minimum of four years.

Careless driving vs reckless driving

Reckless driving also known as dangerous driving carries heavier penalties than those imposed by careless driving. Dangerous / reckless driving can see the offender with penalty points ranging from 3 to 11 and remaining on a driver licence for four years. Dangerous / reckless driving has also an obligatory driving ban of 1 year after which, the defendant must take the extended driving test in order to have their licence reinstated.

Fines will generally be much higher than those imposed by careless driving and are unlimited. A crown court can order a custodial sentence of up to two years although a magistrates court can order imprisonment for up to six months along with a maximum fine of £5,000.


Driving Offences
Driving Offences

Driving Offences

Continue to read on other various driving offences plus the fines and penalty points imposed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.