What Are Careless Driving And Dangerous Driving?
By Lewis Cobain. Last Updated 23rd February 2023. It can be difficult to decipher the difference between careless driving vs. dangerous driving. Both can result in road traffic accidents, but they are very different.
This guide will answer the following questions:
- Is dangerous driving the same as careless driving?
- How do police prove dangerous driving?
- What are examples of dangerous driving?
Our friendly team of advisers are available 24/7 to offer you free legal advice. They’d be happy to have a chat about your situation and explore the steps you can take to receive the compensation you deserve.
If you have a valid claim, they can connect you with a personal injury solicitor to discuss No Win No Fee agreements with you and begin working on your personal injury compensation claim. Our experienced personal injury lawyers could help you.
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Select A Section
- Road Traffic Accident Claims – Who Is Eligible To Claim For Serious Injury Caused By Dangerous Driving?
- Driving Offences – Dangerous Driving
- Driving Offences – Careless Driving
- Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving – How Are They Different?
- Inconsiderate Driving
- Fatal Incidents
- Serious Injuries
- Penalties For Dangerous Driving or Careless Driving
- Calculate Payouts For Injuries Caused By Careless Driving And Dangerous Driving
- Special Damages Payouts For Careless Driving And Dangerous Driving
- No Win No Fee Careless Driving And Dangerous Driving Personal Injury Claims
- Talk To An Expert
- Learn More About Motoring Offences
Road Traffic Accident Claims – Who Is Eligible To Claim For Serious Injury Caused By Dangerous Driving?
When seeking car accident compensation for a serious injury by dangerous driving, it’s important to establish whether you have an eligible claim before you take action. In order to do this, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did the defendant owe you a duty of care?
- Was that duty of care breached?
- Were you injured or did you suffer harm as a result?
When we talk about duty of care, this is outlined in the Road Traffic Act 1988. The legislation states that motorists should drive with due care and attention. To drive dangerously is an offence. The Highway Code further sets out how road users should act when on the road to reduce the danger or threat they pose to others.
As part of the road traffic accident claims process, you’ll be expected to provide proof of the other road user’s negligence as well as any injuries or harm you have sustained. We’ll discuss evidence you can use further on in this guide.
Dangerous driving in the UK is a statutory offence. Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 covers the definition of this. It states that the driving falls far below the expected level of a normal competent driver and driving this way would be known to be dangerous. Here are some examples of dangerous driving:
- Driving over the limit i.e. racing
- Ignoring traffic lights
- Knowingly driving a damaged vehicle
- Overtaking someone in a dangerous manner
- Driving when unfit
Dangerous driving can either mean the person driving the car is deemed dangerous, or it can mean the car itself is unfit to be driven. Furthermore, you can be reported for dangerous driving even if no accident occurs.
If you’re caught dangerous driving, at the lower end of the scale you’ll likely receive a fine and penalty points. However, it all depends on the severity of the dangerous driving and whether there are any additional offences such as alcohol and drug use. For a dangerous driving offence in England and Wales, it can mean up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine, driving disqualification or points. If a death is caused by dangerous driving this can mean a maximum of 14 years in prison.
If you’ve suffered an injury caused by a dangerous driver, you may wish to speak to our team of advisers to check if you’re eligible to make a compensation claim. They can assess how much compensation you may be entitled to and connect you with a personal injury lawyer if your claim is valid.
Essentially, careless driving is a less severe form of dangerous driving. Although it’s less severe, it can still cause serious accidents on the road.
Here are some examples of careless driving:
- Running a red light by mistake
- Undertaking a vehicle
- Driving too slowly
- Hand brake turns
The penalties for careless driving can vary greatly depending on the circumstances. The lower end of the spectrum would be a warning, then a fixed penalty with the offer for training, not accepting the penalty and have the case heard in court. There is also the possibility of between 3-9 points and a fine.
The distinction between careless driving vs. dangerous driving is that very often dangerous driving falls in relation to causing serious harm or property damage and the former looks at inconveniencing other road users. Careless driving is a driver who lacks attention and care on the road. Careless driving is seen as driving that’s below the standard expected of a driver who’s careful and competent. This causes little risk of injury or damage to property.
Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 outline that dangerous driving is when someone drives in a way that’s obviously dangerous and falls far below the standards of a competent and safe driver.
Whilst careless driving and dangerous driving have slight differences, both can have detrimental effects if an accident occurs. This is why both are punishable, although dangerous driving usually has more severe consequences.
Inconsiderate driving is classified as driving with no consideration for the surrounding vehicles and pedestrians. Here are some examples of inconsiderate driving:
- Driving in a cycle lane
- Driving in a bus lane
- Suddenly braking for no reason
- Using motorway lanes incorrectly
Penalties for inconsiderate driving often include fines and sometimes points on your license. This type of driving is unlikely to go to court. If it does, the fine and license points may increase.
These are some of the main causes of fatal accidents on the road:
- Dangerous driving
- Careless driving
- Careless driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Here are some other driving offences that are common in road traffic accidents that cause death:
- Driving without insurance or a valid driving licence
- Driving despite being disqualified
- Wanton and furious driving – This applies when the offence isn’t included in the Road Traffic Act 1988.
If your family member or loved one has lost their lives in a road traffic accident, our team of advisers are here to help. They can have a chat about your situation and offer you legal advice for free. If your claim is valid, they can then connect you to one of our empathetic, professional personal injury lawyers to proceed with the claims process.
Section 1A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 outlines that anyone who inflicts serious injury on someone by dangerous driving on a public place or road is guilty of a crime.
The Ministry of Justice states it is an offence to cause anyone serious injury through dangerous driving. This can lead to a prison sentence of a maximum of 5 years in prison. If someone drives dangerously and causes death, they can be sentenced to up to 14 years imprisonment.
Fatal accidents from careless driving or inconsiderate driving have a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a disqualification from driving or points.
On the other hand, causing death by careless driving whilst under the influencer of drugs or alcohol is punishable by up to 14 years in prison, and/or unlimited fine and in most cases a driving disqualification for two years minimum.
If you’ve suffered a serious injury due to someone else’s dangerous or careless driving, you may be able to make a personal injury claim. Our team of advisers are available 24 hours a day to answer any queries you may have and offer legal advice for free.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, dangerous driving and careless driving may have different penalties.
If you are found guilty in the magistrates’ court, the penalties for dangerous driving may include spending 6 months in custody and/or paying a level five fine.
However, in the Crown Court, you may face an unlimited fine and up to 2 years in prison.
Under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, all drivers found guilty of driving dangerously must not be allowed to drive for at least a year, and they must take an extended retest once the ban is over. If the driver is exempt from this rule for ‘special reasons’, they will have 3-11 points added to their licence.
According to the Highway Code, if you are at fault for a hit and run in the UK, your penalty could be an unlimited fine, 6 months imprisonment and/or discretionary disqualification of driving and 5-10 points on your licence.
If you are found guilty of careless and inconsiderate driving, or driving without due care and attention, the penalties can differ. This may include:
- A level five fine
- 3-9 penalty points on your licence (unless exempt for ‘special reasons’)
- Disqualification from driving for a fixed period or until a driving test has been passed
If you have been harmed by the dangerous or careless driving of another road user, speak to our advisors at any time for free legal advice.
A personal injury claims calculator can help assess how much compensation your injury may be worth. Similarly, a compensation table can produce compensation figures for various different injuries to assess how much they may be valued in compensation.
The compensation table below includes the latest Judicial College Guidelines figures to show how much compensation some injuries are valued. These figures may vary.
|Wrist Injuries||The wrist has completely lost its ability to function. For example, where an arthrodesis has been performed.||£44,690 to £56,180|
|Wrist Injuries||Less severe injuries which results in some disability that is permanent. For example, stiffness and pain that is persistent. .||£11,820 to £22,990|
|Multiple Fractures of Facial Bones||Permanent facial deformity.||£13,970 to £22,470|
|Fractures of Nose or Nasal Complex||Multiple or serious fractures that result in airway issues and multiple operations being performed.||£9,990 to £21,700|
|Fractures of Cheekbones||Fractures of a serious nature that need surgery and result in disfigurement.||£9,570 to £14,810|
|Fractures of Jaws||Multiple jaw fractures of a serious nature that require lengthy treatment and result in permanent consequences.||£28,610 to £42,730|
Compensation awards are split across two different sections (general damages and special damages). The awarded bracket depends on the severity of the injuries and how long treatment takes.
General damages compensate for the actual injury and how it has affected you mentally and physically. For example, you may experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the accident and injuries you sustained.
Special damages compensate for the financial loss you’ve suffered due to your injuries. For example, you may have suffered a loss of earnings due to taking time off work whilst healing from your injuries. Please note that it’s often difficult to claim special damages without proof that you suffered a financial loss.
As mentioned in the above section, special damages offer compensation for the financial impact the injury has had on you. Here are some examples of financial loss and the evidence you could provide alongside it:
- Care costs – Your injury may have meant you needed to hire a carer to care for you whilst you’re recovering, for example, to cook your meals. On the other hand, you may have been unable to care for an elderly family member the way you usually would due to your injuries. Therefore, you may have had to hire a carer for them.
- Medication – You may have paid out of pocket for prescription medication. An example of evidence you could use to prove you paid for your medication is prescriptions and bank statements.
- Loss of earnings – Special damages can compensate you for the financial loss you suffered due to taking time off work for your injuries. An example of evidence you could gather to prove loss of earnings is payslips.
- Travel costs – You may have paid out of pocket to travel to and from medical appointments, for example, by taxi or bus. An example of evidence you could provide for this is bus tickets.
If you’d like to discuss whether you may be entitled to special damages, our team of advisers would be happy to discuss this with you. You can contact them at any time of the day to have a chat about your situation and assess how much compensation you may be owed.
No Win No Fee agreements contain many monetary benefits as they leave you with little to lose. Our solicitors are happy to discuss working on a No Win No Fee basis with claimants.
A No Win No Fee agreement, or Conditional Fee Agreement, is a contractual agreement between you and your personal injury lawyer. This contract states what your solicitors has to do in order to receive payment.
If your case loses, you don’t have to pay the fees your solicitor has gained throughout your case. If your case wins, your personal injury solicitor will deduct a legally capped, small percentage of your compensation.
Our team of advisers are available around the clock to offer you 24/7 free legal advice. They’d be happy to answer any questions you have and assess how much compensation you may be entitled to.
If you have a promising case, they can connect you to a personal injury solicitor to explore No Win No Fee agreements with you. Our lawyers are experienced in helping claimants gather sufficient evidence to support their claim.
When you speak to an adviser from our team, you’re under no obligation to continue with our services. However, if your claim is legitimate, the opportunity to be connected to a personal injury solicitor who can be offered to you.
You can contact our team of advisers by:
- Ringing them on 0800 073 8804 to receive assistance with your case.
- Filling out our online claims form to give an adviser as much information as possible about your situation.
- Having a chat with an adviser through our instant chat pop-up box to receive a response straight away.
Department for Transport – This link includes information such as statistics surrounding road traffic accidents and national travel survey statistics.
Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) – The MIB helps victims of injuries sustained from uninsured drivers gain compensation.
Broken Leg – Have you suffered a broken leg injury due to a road traffic accident? This NHS guide includes important information you should know.
£15,000 Compensation For A Cyclist Knocked Off Bike By A Car – If you’ve suffered injuries in a vehicle accident whilst you were cycling, you may be able to make a personal injury claim if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries.
We also have some other guides on car accident claims that you may find useful:
- A guide to car accident claims
- Check out our frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on car accidents
- A guide to serious injury car accident claims
- Learn what to do if you suffer from tinnitus after a car accident
- What causes neck pain after a car accident?
- Car accidents caused by faulty traffic lights
- Can you claim for a car accident without an injury?
- What to do if you have a car accident
- A guide to child car accident claims
- How to claim if a pre-existing injury got worse after a car crash
- Claiming for nerve damage caused by a car accident
- Ice or snow car accident claims
- What to do if you suffer an injury in a car accident
- Car accidents involving bends on the road – a guide on what to do
- Company car accident claims
- A guide to drink driving car accidents
- Car accidents caused by family members and friends
- How to claim for a brain injury from a car accident
- A guide to foreign vehicle accident claims
- How to claim for an ambulance crash or collisions with police cars or fire engines
- How to prove a car accident was not your fault
- Car accident injury payouts – a guide to compensation awards
- Passenger car accident claims – a detailed guide
- Car accidents caused by mud on the road
- How to prove an injury from a car accident
- I was injured in a car accident without insurance, can I still claim?
- Car accident compensation payout examples
- I was injured in a car accident – what are my rights?
- A car hit me from behind, do I need to pay the excess fee?
- How long does car accident compensation take to come through?
- Who pays for the damage if hit by a stolen car?
- A guide to hit and run pedestrian accidents
- What are the new whiplash claim rules?
- What to do if an insurance company denies liability in a car crash case?
- Car accident claim time limit
- How long do I have to make a car accident claim?
- What is an excess fee under car insurance?
- How to report a car accident
Thank you for reading our guide about careless driving vs. dangerous driving.