Careless driving is defined in the Road Traffic Acts as “driving without due care and attention.” A prosecution for careless driving can be brought by a Procurator Fiscal in Scotland where it is alleged that someone’s driving fell below the standard expected of ‘a competent and careful driver’. Such prosecutions are brought under Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Driving without due care and attention covers a wide spectrum of careless or sub-standard driving. There need not be an accident to prompt a charge of careless driving although accidents or collisions are frequently the background to a Section 3 charge. However, speeding, tailgating and ‘undertaking’ on a motorway are all examples of driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users which can result in prosecutions for careless driving. Cases can be brought in both the Sheriff Court and the Justice of the Peace Court in Scotland.

Just because an accident has occurred, this does not necessarily mean that someone has been guilty of careless driving. All the relevant circumstances must be examined by a motoring solicitor including road conditions, the adequacy of road markings and signs, the reliability of eye witness and police evidence which is frequently open to challenge.

Penalties for Careless Driving in Scotland

Because the scope of Section 3 is so wide, the range of possible penalties is also widely drawn. Disqualification is a possibility, although is generally only considered in the more serious examples or when an accused already has a history of road traffic offences. If the Court does not disqualify, a Sheriff or Justice of the Peace can order endorsement of a licence with anything between 3 and 9 penalty points, in addition to any financial penalty which is considered appropriate.

Driving without due care and attention is an implied alternative to a charge of dangerous driving under Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act. This means that where someone is charged and prosecuted with dangerous driving but the sheriff (or jury) is not satisfied that the standard of driving fell far below that required of a competent and careful driver such as to prove dangerous driving, a verdict convicting the accused of the lesser charge of driving without due care and attention is available to the Court.

Careless Driving Lawyers Edinburgh

If you have been charged with careless driving or think you may be charged with this or any other road traffic offence, it is important that you speak to an expert road traffic lawyer as soon as possible. We offer free initial advice to anyone no matter what their circumstances might be. Call us today on 0131 557 9151 (24hrs) for a free, no obligation discussion. Alternatively, request a callback or fill out our online enquiry form and we will be straight back in touch with you.

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