What is Careless Driving?

by Doogue + George Criminal Defence Lawyers

Careless Driving is a charge often used when the police think that you didn’t drive with the care and attention of a reasonable person.

Examples of Careless Driving

  • A driver fails to give way at a "give way" sign and causes a collision.
  • A driver tailgates a car, and then crashes into the car when it slows down suddenly.
  • A driver swerves for no reason in their own traffic lane.

What are some of the possible defences to a Careless Driving charge?

  • The driving was due to a sudden and extraordinary emergency.
  • Someone else was responsible for the driving.

There are other possible defences depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this

  • What were the circumstances of the driving?
  • Was someone mistakenly identified?

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

Careless Driving has a maximum penalty of 12 penalty units ($1,865.52) for a first offence and 25 penalty units ($3,886.50) for a subsequent offence.

Careless driving is usually heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

What is the legal definition of Careless Driving?      

Legally, Careless Driving means driving a motor vehicle on a road carelessly.


The section that covers this offence is section 65 of the Road Safety Act 1986.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

You can only get a fine for this charge as it is considered a minor offence.

Have you received a summons for a Careless Driving offence? Speak with a lawyer to know your legal options. Doogue + George Defence Lawyers specialises in driving offences and has defended numerous cases of Careless Driving heard in various Victorian courts.

To read actual case studies about this charge, visit this page where this article was originally published: https://www.criminal-lawyers.com.au/offences/careless-driving.


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