Dangerous Driving – The Ins and Outs
If someone is prosecuted for Dangerous Driving, the maximum prison sentence they will receive is 2 years, however if their dangerous driving resulted in taking someone’s life, this number will increase to 14 years.
Dangerous driving definition:
“A person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if (and, subject to subsection (2) below, only if) –
- a) The way he drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and
- b) It would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.”
These cases are judged by the standard of ‘competent and careful’ drivers, by the jury or by a magistrate/judge. The driving must fall far below the expected standard in order for the case to be proved. It can often be easy to identify where driving falls below the expected standard, for example going the opposite way around a roundabout at night with no lights, and over the speed limit. But there still has to be a clear distinction from ‘careless driving’ where a driver who makes a mistake genuinely believed that they had judged the conditions correctly. There are many factors which help identify dangerous driving, such as:
- Racing/competitive driving
- Failure to have proper and safe regard for vulnerable road users, E.g. cyclists, motorcyclists, horse riders, the elderly and pedestrians or when in the distance of a pedestrian crossing, hospital, school or residential home
- Speeding, which is inappropriate for the prevailing road or traffic conditions
- Aggressive driving, E.g. sudden lane changes, cutting into a lane of vehicles or driving too close to the vehicle in front
- Disregard of traffic lights and other road signs, which, on an objective analysis, would appear to be deliberate
- Disregard of warnings from fellow passengers
- Overtaking when it couldn’t have been carried out safely
- Driving when knowingly suffering from a medical or physical condition that significantly and dangerously impairs the offender’s driving skills such as having an arm or leg in plaster, or impaired eyesight. It can include the failure to take prescribed medication
- Driving when knowingly deprived or adequate sleep or rest
- Driving a vehicle knowing it has a dangerous defect or is poorly maintained, or is dangerously loaded
- Using a mobile-phone/other hand-held electronic equipment (regardless of the reasoning for use), when the driver was distracted by the device
- Driving whilst avoidably and dangerously distracted whilst reading equipment (E.g. newspaper or map), talking to and looking at a passenger, selecting and lighting a cigarette, adjusting the controls of electronic equipment (E.g. radio or hands-free mobile phone device).
- A brief but obvious danger resulting from a seriously dangerous manoeuvre.
What are the Defence Strategies for Dangerous Driving?
Some small errors can be made whilst driving, and these errors can often have very serious consequences, which can lead to serious harm or even death. But driving which has serious consequences is not always dangerous. But you need to be very carefully advised about the details of the offence of which you are being accused. This means that if you are to be interviewed by the police, you must seek legal representation as soon as possible. Legal representation at the police station will be free of charge as it is covered by legal aid. All cases are different, but there are massive implications for those accused of the most serious offences of causing death by dangerous driving, if it can in fact be established that the driving was only “careless” or indeed, not your fault at all.
How Tuckers Solicitors can help you in relation to Dangerous Driving Cases…
As stated above, all cases are different – However it is vital that you seek legal help as soon as possible. Please get in touch with our Road Traffic and Driving Offences Department on 020 7388 8333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org where we will gladly assist.
Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to deliver immediate and expert legal advice and representation.