Careless Driving (drive without due care and attention) (Revised 2017)

Road Traffic Act 1988, s.3
Effective from: 24 April 2017

Triable only summarily:
Maximum: Unlimited fine
Offence range: Band A fine – Band C fine

User guide for this offence


Step 1 – Determining the offence category

The Court should determine the offence category using the table below.

Category 1      Higher culpability and greater harm

Category 2      Higher culpability and lesser harm or lower culpability and greater harm 

Category3       Lower culpability and lesser harm

The court should determine the offender’s culpability and the harm caused with reference only to the factors below. Where an offence does not fall squarely into a category, individual factors may require a degree of weighting before making an overall assessment and determining the appropriate offence category.

CULPABILITY demonstrated by one or more of the following:

Factors indicating higher culpability

  • Excessive speed or aggressive driving
  • Carrying out other tasks while driving
  • Vehicle used for the carriage of heavy goods or for the carriage of passengers for reward
  • Tiredness or driving whilst unwell
  • Driving contrary to medical advice (including written advice from the drug manufacturer not to drive when taking any medicine)

Factors indicating lower culpability

  • All other cases

HARM demonstrated by one or more of the following:

Factors indicating greater harm

  • Injury to others
  • Damage to other vehicles or property
  • High level of traffic or pedestrians in vicinity

Factors indicating lesser harm

  • All other cases