Is Careless Driving A Criminal Offense?


Thousands die from fatal car accidents worldwide annually. It’s a case that affects many lives which is why you should do your best to stay safe on the road. Even if you don’t end up gravely injuring or hurting someone, you’ll still have to face the legal consequences of being a careless and reckless driver.

There are many laws put in place to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Here in Australia, one of the most vital road laws you need to follow is one pertaining to careless driving. What does this law mean and who are eligible for this criminal offence?

What Is Careless Driving?

Section 83 of the Queensland Transport Operations states that a careless driver is “any person who drives a motor vehicle on a road or elsewhere without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place is guilty of an offence of careless driving.”

According to legal experts from Smith Criminal Law, the maximum penalty for the offence is 40 penalty units or a total of 6 months in prison or up to 1 year if another’s life is put in danger. Of course, the license of the careless driver will be disqualified as well.

If the person who is charged doesn’t have a license, the penalty is ramped up to 160 penalty points.

Dangerous driving and careless driving are two completely different things. Careless driving is an offence that sees you being unable to drive with the expected minimum of care. Dangerous driving on the other hand means you are driving in a way that’s causing endangerment to the lives of others.

Both are still criminal offences. Careless driving includes practices such as going beyond the speed limit, driving a car without important equipment such as taillights and headlights, and many other things. It can also include simple mistakes such as driving too close in proximity to others.

Avoiding road related cases is very easy. However, if you aren’t sure as to how you can avoid being a careless driver, then here are some important driving tips to consider next time you’re on the road.

Becoming A Better Driver

  1. Take Defensive Driving Lessons

It’s not just enough that you learn how to drive, you need to become a defensive driver as well. Defensive driving is set of principles and techniques that will prevent you from being in harm’s way when drunk drivers and careless drivers are on the road. By taking defensive driving lessons, you’ll understand the biggest don’ts when it comes to driving as well.

Defensive driving lessons are usually provided within driving schools. Upon completion of the course, you can earn a certificate that proves you have passed the lessons.

2. Take Care Of Your Car

A good driver can become a bad driver if he’s driving a car in poor condition. You should always take the time to take care of your car. Make sure that each part is working properly and that you aren’t putting others on the road in danger.

Some of the things you need to keep an eye on all the time are your tires, your headlights and taillights, as well as your turn signals. Having your car checked at least once a month is more than enough.

3. Never Drive Drunk

Driving under the influence is one of the worst things you can do. If you’re out after a night of partying, don’t even think about driving home. Just take a taxi home instead. You’re putting your life, as well as the life of others in grave danger by doing so.


Alt Text: Example of a careless driver.

Even if you don’t feel drunk or tipsy, you need to be well aware of your alcohol levels. Breathalyzer tests check for the amount of alcohol in your blood per 100ml. In Australia, the legal limit for driving is 0.5% BAC or blood alcohol level.

4. Drive Within Your Limits

The most common cause of accidents is overspeeding. Aside from avoiding driving over the speed limit on the road, you should also make sure that you are driving at speeds that are manageable for you. It’s very easy to get careless on the road and the best way to stay safe is by simply knowing what your capacities are.

That being said, you should always take the time to practice driving within the normal speed limit when you can. Find an open road and practice there regularly. Eventually, you can drive without having to worry about causing others harm.

Careless driving is a very common criminal offence in Australia. While common, it’s very easy to avoid as all you really have to do is to become a mindful driver. With these tips, you can avoid being penalized by the law. Most importantly however, you can stay out of harm’s way as well.

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