Careless and Inconsiderate Driving

Road Traffic Act 1988 s.3

Previously known as driving without due care and attention, now known as:
Careless; defined at RTA 1988 s.3ZA (2)

  • A person is to be regarded as driving without due care and attention if (and only if) the way he drives falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.
  • There is no definition for competent and careful driver.
    • Judges will sometimes use an objectivity test based on what the “reasonable” man would consider, in this case, a competent and prudent driver to be.
      • The reasonable man has variously been referred to as

“The man on the Clapham omnibus” Greer LJ in the case of Hall v. Brooklands Auto-Racing Club(1933) 1 KB 205

and

“Commuters on the London Underground” Lord Steyn MacFarlane v Tayside Health Board (1999) 3 WLR

  • The question you must ask is what understanding of motorcycle dynamics these “reasonable” people have.

Inconsiderate; defined at RTA 1988 s.3ZA (4)

  • A person is to be regarded as driving without reasonable consideration for other persons only if those persons are inconvenienced by his driving.
  • There is no absolute definition of what inconvenienced means in this context.
    • It would be to a judge or jury to decide based on the evidence.
       

OFFENCE

If you are charged or cited with either careless or inconsiderate driving then you have committed that offence.

This may seem obvious, however, each case will be dependent on its own facts and will have to be argued.

Whoever is bringing the case will have to show that your level of driving fell below that expected of a careful and competent driver.

Examples include:

  • Overtaking on the inside.
  • Driving too close to the vehicle in front of you.


PENALTY

  • Maximum £5,000 fine
  • Discretionary disqualification.
  • Obligatory 3-9 points endorsement.


POINT TO CONSIDER If you do get charged or cited with careless or inconsiderate driving, this is initially a subjective assessment made on the police report. You may well have a very good reason for riding the way you did which could be argued in court. Do not assume that because the charge reads careless driving that you were careless. As soon as you get charged or cited with careless or inconsiderate driving, speak to a legal representative specialising in traffic law.

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