Dangerous driving or reckless driving as it’s also known, is one of the most serious driving offences, worse still, cause serious injury by dangerous driving and causing death by dangerous driving, all of which impose penalty points, fines and possible custodial sentence.
Dangerous driving is defined as a standard of driving that falls far below the minimum acceptable standard that is to be expected of a competent and safe driver.
Over 3,000 drivers are convicted of dangerous driving each year and although statistically dangerous driving convictions have fallen due to the increase of speed cameras, many serious injuries or fatalities are the direct result of dangerous driving each year in the UK.
Dangerous and careless driving
When driving offences go to court, prosecutors will often push for a careless driving conviction rather than the more serious offence of dangerous driving. Essentially a prosecutor will rather have some form of conviction rather than a verdict of not guilty.
By pushing for the less serious careless driving, even where serious injury or fatalities are concerned, the offence can often be far easier to prove than dangerous driving. There are of course still many drivers that are convicted of dangerous driving when the offence is serious enough.
Dangerous driving offences
In order to be prosecuted for this a dangerous driving offence, you must be issued with a Notice of Intended Prosecution. A dangerous driving offence covers many examples of bad driving behaviour. Some dangerous driving examples are as followed, but not limited to:
- ignoring traffic lights, signals and road signs
- speeding or racing
- driving aggressively
- overtaking dangerously including undertaking a vehicles on the left
- knowingly driving a vehicle that is not safe
- use of vehicle controls, other equipment or reading a map or any other circumstance that causes the motorist to drive dangerously
- being under the influence of drink or drugs being an offence in it’s own right, may also cause the motorist to drive dangerously
Causing injury by dangerous driving
As of 3 December 2012 the new sentence of causing injury by dangerous driving was introduced by section 143 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012.
According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, causing serious injury by dangerous driving occurs when a person drives a ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’ on the road or another public place in a way deemed to be dangerous, resulting in causing serious injury to another person. In England and Wales, ‘serious injury’ in this context will be the same as grievous bodily harm, defined in the Offences against the Person Act 1861 as ‘really serious harm’. The causing injury by dangerous driving offence will be valid in Scotland, England and Wales. Scottish law, however, has a different definition of grievous bodily harm. In Scottish courts, ‘severe injury’ will be considered in the same context as that in aggravated assault cases.
Dangerous driving penalty
The penalty for dangerous driving varies considerably depending on the circumstances, if anyone is injured and if any fatalities are the result of a drivers actions. Minimum penalties such as obligatory driving bans and fines are imposed although the maximum is also determined by mitigating factors such as:
- any previous driving convictions
- clean driving record
- lack of driving experience due to age
- whether the offender is injured due to their actions
- a timely plea of guilty
- shock or remorse in such cases of serious injury or death
Dangerous driving ban
A dangerous driving offence has an obligatory one year ban with more serious offences such as causing death by dangerous driving having an obligatory two years driving ban.
Dangerous driving fine
The unlimited fine for dangerous driving, causing injury by dangerous driving and causing death by dangerous driving is determined by the court and is relative to the particular circumstances, the outcome of the incident and any mitigating factors. A dangerous driving charge that is taken to a Magistrates court can see a maximum fine of up to £5,000.
Dangerous driving points
Dangerous driving penalty points if convicted in court range from 3 to 11 and the related furious driving offence ranges from 3 to 9 penalty points.
Dangerous driving sentences
Dangerous driving sentences vary depending on the circumstances and the severity of the offence. No custodial sentence imposed, up to a maximum of 14 years for severe offences. Sentences may vary depending on whether the offence is heard in a Crown or Magistrates court. Dangerous driving in its minimal form can see the offender having a maximum custodial sentence of two years if convicted in a Crown Court or six months if convicted in a Magistrates Court.
The newer charge of causing injury by dangerous driving is intended to bridge the gap between dangerous driving and causing death by careless or dangerous driving. This newer legislation can see an offender being sentenced with a maximum of five years imprisonment. Causing death by dangerous driving being the most severe of the dangerous driving offences can see a prison sentence of a maximum of 14 years.
Dangerous driving retest
Any dangerous driving conviction involves a driving ban and mandatory retake of the driving test before a driving licence is reissued. A driver must pass the extended driving test whilst similar to the conventional L-test, the extended driving test last much longer – around 60 minutes compared to the 40 minute standard driving test. The extended driving test also more challenging as more driving test manoeuvres are involved, plus a greater variety of roads.
Dangerous driving code
Dangerous 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. Dangerous driving conviction codes must stay on a driving licence for 4 years from the date of the conviction.
|Code||Driving offence||Penalty points|
|DD10||Causing serious injury by dangerous driving||3 to 11|
|DD40||Dangerous driving||3 to 11|
|DD60||Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle||3 to 11|
|DD80||Causing death by dangerous driving||3 to 11|
|DD90||Furious driving||3 to 9|
Dangerous driving law
Although dangerous driving is one of the most severe motoring offences, the average prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is only four years from a possible 14 years maximum sentence that the law allows for.
Dangerous driving insurance increase
Driving convictions that receive a ban are viewed as high risk by car insurance providers. Dangerous driving in particular has a mandatory ban of at least one year and being one of the most serious driving offences represents a challenge for many drivers to find any insurance cover at all.
Depending on your age and the seriousness of the offence, those insurance providers that don’t refuse you a policy will charge a high risk premium that makes it worth their while taking the risk on insuring you. Insurance premiums are likely to be at lease triple the price you were paying prior to the offence.
A dangerous driving convictions remains on a drivers licence for four years and by law you must tell your insurance provider. If a policy holder fails to disclose some or all facts or conviction details, in the event of an accident the car insurance provider may refuse to pay out.
Driving offence on private property
The law is generally reasonably clear whilst driving on public roads, but when it comes to private roads or land it can be a little more confusing. Generally speaking, any land that allows public access such as a supermarket car park, a campsite or pub car park for example all allow for public access and although it is private property, a driver can still receive penalties.
Related Driving Offences
- See driving offences for other driving related offences