The offence form part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, which also includes increased penalties for causing death by dangerous or careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs.
The government wants to close a gap in the law that fails to recognise the harm caused where drivers cause serious injury by their careless driving.
There are currently two specific driving offences of causing serious injury:
- causing serious injury by dangerous driving
- causing serious injury by driving if a disqualified driver
Until now there has been no specific offence of causing serious injury by careless driving even though injuries caused by careless driving can be wide ranging and may result in permanent and life changing injury.
Serious injury, within the meaning of criminal driving legislation, covers a whole range of injuries and is not restricted to the most serious cases. It is likely to cover the following types of injuries:
- broken or displaced limbs or bones, including a fractured skull, compound fractures, broken cheekbone, jaw, ribs, etc;
- injury resulting in permanent disability, loss of sensory function or visible disfigurement;
- injuries which cause substantial loss of blood, usually necessitating a transfusion or result in lengthy treatment or incapacity;
- serious psychiatric injury; and
- a number of individually minor injuries which are collectively considered “really serious”.
Such injuries are far from unusual in road traffic collisions and are almost inevitable in collisions involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists (and e-scooter riders).
Careless or inconsiderate driving
Careless or inconsiderate driving, or driving without due care and attention, is judged primarily upon the standard of your driving. If your driving is “far below” the expected then it would be classed as Dangerous Driving and if it is “below”, this can be construed as Careless Driving. There is no requirement for any conscious risk-taking behaviour, a momentary lapse of concentration would be enough to satisfy the offence.
- Failing to give way at a junction
- Taking the wrong lane at a roundabout
- Hand break turns
- Drinking/eating whilst driving
- Inappropriate speed
- Wheel spins
- Carrying passengers or heavy load
- Causing damage to other vehicles or property
- Ignoring traffic signs
This new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will be a triable either way offence and carry a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment.
If you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), summons or postal requisition and face prosecution for causing serious injury by careless of inconsiderate driving we shall be happy to advise you with regard to your options, or if you require legal representation, call now and speak to one of our specialist motoring defence solicitors on 0115 910 6239.