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Causing Death By Careless Driving

The offence of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving is a relatively new offence and was introduced by the Road Safety Act 2006.

Section 20 of the Act states that it is an offence to cause death by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place.

A person will be guilty of the offence if the way he or she drives falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver. This is a subjective test and there is no official list of actions deemed to be careless driving.

This is an “either way” offence which means that it can be dealt with either in the Magistrates Court or in the Crown Court. The decision as to the venue of the case is one that is made very early on in the court proceedings depends on whether the defendant elects to have a trial before the jury in the Crown or the magistrates decide that their sentencing powers are insufficient to deal with the matter.

A person convicted of this offence is likely to receive a custodial sentence along with a mandatory driving disqualification however subject to mitigation custody could be avoided.

Being charged with this offence does not automatically mean that the Court will reach the same conclusion as the Crown Prosecution Service. Obtaining experts advice from road scene collision investigator is often crucial and Freeman & Co have a directory of suitable experts for each individual case.

If you find yourself involved in a road traffic accident causing death or serious injury, you should obtain immediate legal advice as the Police interview stage is crucial. It is essential that a driver in that situation has the benefit of a specialist Defence Solicitor.

Sentencing Guidelines

Maximum when tried summarily: Level 5 fine and/or 6 months custody

Maximum when tried on indictment: 5 years custody


Minimum disqualification of 12 months with discretionary re-test.

What To Do Now

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