Dangerous driving or just careless driving

Published: 05 October 2017

Dangerous driving or just careless driving
A furious lorry driver has condemned the courts for letting a dangerous motorist, who appears to ‘brake-check’ him on the motorway, get away with just a fine and points on their licence.

The incident was caught on video by the lorry driver’s dashcam, the shocking footage shows the car brake and come to within a few inches of the lorry at least twice on the M8 motorway.
The driver of the Renault was originally charged with dangerous driving but 2 years later he pleaded guilty to the less serious charge of careless driving.

Instead of losing his licence and facing a potentially lengthy ban he was given a fine of £810 and just 7 points on his licence.


 
 
The lorry driver, Gareth Owens, told reporters: “I am not happy with him only getting 7 points and the £810 fine. He should have lost his licence and the sheriff should have banned him from driving for 12 months or more, plus a bigger fine. If I had not been so alert, and had not had an empty trailer, things would have been different. If I was loaded to my legal weight of 44 tons I would have hit him and maybe other vehicles would have got caught up in it.”

After reviewing the footage Richard Newbold, founder Returnloads.net, said: “In my opinion the driver should have been banned. If the lorry had been carrying a full load the result would’ve been different as the lorry driver would not have been able to stop in time and people could have been hurt or lost their lives.”


What’s the difference between dangerous driving and careless driving?

The difference between dangerous driving and careless driving can be hard to distinguish and ultimately hangs on the interpretation of on a single word.

According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, a person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if the way they drive falls ‘far below’ what would be expected of a competent driver.

Careless driving is referred to as driving without due care and attention. The difference between dangerous and careless driving is basically the interpretation of the word ‘far’.

Dangerous driving – falls ‘far’ below what is expected of a competent driver.

Careless driving – falls below what is expected of a competent driver.

The official Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance confirms that it is the ‘standard of driving’ that matters.

It explains: ‘For dangerous driving, the standard of driving must fall far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver; whereas for careless driving the standard of driving must merely fall below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.’

Having looked into the differences between careless and dangerous driving we think it is clear what the outcome should have been in this incidence.

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