Gaina Kapoor considers the new offence of Causing Serious Injury By Careless Driving

New legislation has been introduced to punish careless drivers under the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 2(c). The offence is usually punishable by a fine. However, the new law has presented a harsher punishment for deterrence. This legislation will also apply to emergency services if they fall ‘below the expected standard of a competent driver.

Careless driving is driving in a way, which falls below what would be expected of a competent driver. The definition of a competent driver is a matter of interpretation for the courts. This legislation is so it does not depend on what the individual reasonably believes, but rather on what a reasonable person would consider careless.

Examples of careless driving  may include:

  • Overtaking on the inside or driving inappropriately close to another vehicle
  • Emerging through red lights or paths of other vehicles
  • Short distractions such as turning a car radio on
  • Driving when tired
  • Partaking in behaviour such as Wheelspins

Under the new legislation, to be liable for this offence the injury caused must be ‘serious’.

  • Any broken or displaced limbs, including a fractured skull, compound fractures etc.
  • Injury causing permanent disability, loss of sensory function or visible disfigurement
  • Injuries causing substantial loss of blood
  • Serious psychiatric harm

The new offence will be triable as an either way offence carrying a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and points on your driving license. Furthermore, it includes fines of up to £5,000.

For further information on this topic or any other legal area, please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372303444 or email or visit our Linkedin page.

Gaina Kapoor

September 2022

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