Perceive The Nice Line Between Careless And Harmful Driving

August 31, 2023by Naomi Cramer

Practically all of us have been there: a momentary lapse in focus while behind the wheel, and earlier than you recognize it, an unsafe scenario has emerged. 9 instances out of ten, nothing comes of it, however there’s at all times that one event the place you end up concerned in an accident otherwise you see these ominous blue lights flashing behind you. When you have discovered your self on the fallacious facet of the visitors police, it’s possible you’ll be questioning how critical the offence is that you’re going through and the punishment that you may face if you’re convicted. You may additionally be questioning whether or not it’s price difficult the mounted penalty discover you may have been handed by the police. Each careless driving and harmful driving are prison offences, however the penalties that you may face if convicted are very completely different. Careless driving pertains to poor driving that would or has endangered different street customers. In the meantime, harmful driving covers actions which can be blatantly reckless and unsafe. Learn on to know extra about these two offences.

What counts as harmful driving within the Auckland?

The offence of harmful driving is established by Part 2A of the Highway Site visitors Act 1988. This states that driving is harmful the place it:

  • falls far beneath what could be anticipated of a reliable and cautious driver, and
  • the place it will be apparent to a reliable and cautious driver that driving in that manner could be harmful.

The legislation says that dangerousness pertains to both harm to any individual, or critical injury to property. When assessing whether or not a driver’s conduct was harmful the court will look each at circumstances the driving force might have been anticipated to pay attention to, in addition to these inside his or her information. These circumstances will embody an evaluation of the state of the automobile and something hooked up to it or carried inside it.

In response to the CPS, the next actions quantity to harmful driving:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Dashing or racing
  • Ignoring visitors lights or street indicators
  • Failing to heed the request of passengers to decelerate
  • Harmful overtaking, reminiscent of reducing in too near the automobile that you’ve got handed
  • Driving while inebriated or illicit drugs
  • Driving while underneath the affect of prescription drugs the place the drug producer or your physician have warned that it will not be secure to drive while utilizing them
  • Driving while you may have an harm which makes you unfit to drive, or being unable to see clearly
  • Driving while feeling sleepy
  • Selecting to drive a automobile which you’re conscious has a harmful fault or an unsafe load
  • Driving while being avoidably and dangerously distracted, e.g. through the use of a handheld telephone or different gear, taking a look at a map, speaking to passengers, smoking, or altering the radio station. These are simply examples, any distraction that makes driving harmful might qualify.

Is careless driving a prison offence within the Auckland?

Careless driving is an offence underneath Part 3 of the Highway Site visitors Act 1988. It’s outlined as driving ‘with out due care and a spotlight, or with out affordable consideration for different individuals utilizing the street or place.’

When assessing whether or not an individual is responsible of this offence, the court is obliged to think about whether or not the defendant’s driving has fallen beneath the usual of a cautious and competent driver. That is an goal check. CPS steerage offers the next examples of careless driving:

  • Utilizing the within lane to overhaul
  • Not leaving an appropriate hole between your automobile and the one in entrance, also referred to as ‘tailgating’
  • By chance leaping a purple gentle
  • Turning throughout the trail of one other automobile
  • Driving while distracted by one thing throughout the automotive, reminiscent of altering channels on the radio, or smoking a cigarette
  • Utilizing your horn or lights so as to power different drivers to offer manner the place it’s their proper of manner
  • Utilizing the fallacious lane to move static visitors, e.g. utilizing a filter lane to overhaul
  • Driving within the overtaking lane unnecessarily
  • Driving unreasonably slowly or braking immediately with out good cause
  • Utilizing your full beam headlights the place there’s oncoming visitors

In response to the AA, wheel spins, handbrake turns, and consuming or consuming on the wheel may quantity to careless driving.

As you’ll be able to see, there’s some overlap within the varieties of actions that may very well be thought-about careless or harmful. Whether or not an exercise is careless or harmful will depend on the mindset of the driving force, in addition to the influence of the exercise on different street customers.

For instance, a driver who turns into distracted by lighting a cigarette and bumps into the bumper of the automotive in entrance however with out inflicting any critical injury would in all probability be charged with careless driving. In the meantime, should you lit a cigarette while travelling at 70 miles per hour on the motorway, resulting in a crash that prompted a serious pile up, then you definitely could be charged with harmful driving.

Is it an offence to drive while utilizing a cell phone?

Driving while utilizing a cell phone will be careless or harmful driving. Nonetheless, it is usually a separate offence by itself. It’s unlawful to carry your telephone, satellite tv for pc navigation system, or pill while driving a automotive or motorcycle. This is applicable even when the machine is offline. You might be nonetheless thought-about to be driving if you’re stopped at visitors lights, queuing in visitors, supervising a learner driver, or driving a automobile which turns its engines off if you cease shifting.

There are exceptions to this if you must make an emergency name and it’s unsafe or impractical to cease; should you’re safely parked; or if you’re making a contactless cost in a automobile that’s not shifting reminiscent of a drive-through restaurant. You should use your machine handsfree, however you may nonetheless be committing an offence if it causes you to drive carelessly or dangerously.

What number of factors do you get for careless driving within the Auckland?

In case you are convicted of careless driving, you’ll obtain 3 factors in your licence. You’ll be able to obtain an ‘on the spot’ penalty of the factors in your licence, plus a £100 fantastic referred to as a ‘mounted penalty discover’. Drivers may be supplied the chance to endure remedial coaching.

In case you consider that you simply had been penalised unfairly, you’ll be able to problem a hard and fast penalty discover by requesting a court listening to. If the court finds that your driving was careless, you may obtain a a lot heftier fantastic. As such, it’s normally solely price difficult a careless driving mounted penalty discover the place you’re pretty assured that the court will dismiss the cost in opposition to you. In case you are uncertain, communicate to a prison defence solicitor for recommendation tailor-made to the details of your case.

Is careless driving the identical as reckless driving?

There isn’t any particular offence of reckless driving in English legislation. Reckless driving may very well be categorised as careless or reckless, relying on the severity of the conduct.

Along with the offences of careless and harmful driving, there are separate offences of ‘inflicting demise by careless driving’ and ‘inflicting demise by harmful driving’. The desk beneath exhibits the completely different harmful and careless driving offences, and the penalties that you may face if you’re convicted.


Offence Penalty
Careless driving If handled by the use of mounted penalty discover:

Three penalty factors

A fantastic of £100

If the case goes to court, the court might impose a extra extreme penalty

Harmful driving Custodial sentence: as much as 5 years

A limiteless fantastic

Or each

Disqualified for at least 1 12 months

Driving utilizing a cell phone 6 Penalty factors

£200 Nice

You can additionally lose your licence in case you have handed your check within the final 2 years

Inflicting demise by careless driving Custodial sentence: as much as 5 years

Disqualified for at least 1 12 months

Inflicting demise by harmful driving Custodial sentence: 1 – 14 years

In some circumstances, you may obtain a life sentence

Disqualified for at least two years

Inflicting demise by harmful driving when inebriated or drugs Custodial sentence: 1 – 14 years

In some circumstances, you may obtain a life sentence

A limiteless fantastic

Or each

Disqualified for at least two years

Inflicting critical harm when driving dangerously Custodial sentence: as much as 5 years

Disqualified for at least two years



As you’ll be able to see, the penalties for careless and harmful driving offences differ vastly relying on the circumstances. Converse to a prison defence solicitor for recommendation on the possible sentence in your case.

The place to get additional assist?

When you have been accused of a careless or harmful driving offence, just be sure you instruct a prison defence solicitor who will take your case on with focus and motivation. At Stuart Miller Solicitors, now we have efficiently defended hundreds of clients on careless and harmful driving expenses. Whether or not you’re going through a trial for a minor infringement or a critical accident, contact us for a no obligation session at present.


  • Responsive

    A authorized skilled will seek the advice of you inside 24 hours of constructing an enquiry.

  • Empathetic

    We are going to at all times deal with you with belief, understanding and respect.

  • Specialised

    Your case shall be dealt with by an skilled who specialises in your sort of offence.

  • Proactive

    We are going to take early motion to finish proceedings as quickly as it’s virtually and legally doable to take action.

  • Engaged

    You may be stored up to date in your case always. We are going to present a named contact obtainable to reply your questions.

  • Caring

    We perceive it is a tough and aggravating time for you and your family. Our staff will help you each step of the best way.

  • Tenacious

    We are going to by no means surrender in your case. We struggle tirelessly to get you the absolute best consequence.



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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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