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What Is Dangerous Driving?

Dangerous driving is one the more serious driving offences to be accused of, and if convicted, you could face being sent to prison for up to 14 years. You could also face a driving disqualification of a minimum twelve months and an unlimited fine.

The definition of dangerous driving according to the Road Traffic Act 1988 is; 

  • the way he/she drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous;


  • if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state (for the purpose of the determination of which regard may be had to anything attached to or carried on or in it, and to the manner in which it is attached or carried) would be dangerous.

A Dangerous Driving Charge Can Apply to a Vehicle 

A dangerous driving charge can relate to the individual driving the vehicle or the vehicle itself and defined as when an individual’s driving falls below the expected level of a careful driver. It can also be classed as dangerous driving if the vehicle being driven is in a dangerous condition and not suitable to be on public roads.

Examples of dangerous driving would include racing or aggressive driving, driving while tired, or being involved in a police chase.

If you are facing an investigation or been charged with dangerous driving then you must seek our advice immediately. As a specialist ‘dangerous driving offence solicitor’ Lanyon Bowdler has great experience in defending those being accused of a serious road traffic offence and driving without due care and attention. 

Careless Driving Behaviour Examples

  • Failing to look properly
  • Sudden braking
  • Tailgating
  • ‘Undertaking’ or overtaking on the inside
  • Turning into the path of another driver
  • Having your attention diverted by a distraction inside the car, for example, using a mobile phone
  • Having your attention diverted by a distraction outside the car, for example, 'rubbernecking'

Dangerous Driving Behaviour Examples

  • Ignoring traffic lights, road signs or warnings from passengers
  • Dangerous overtaking
  • Racing, going too fast, or driving aggressively
  • Driving under the influence of drink or drugs, including prescription drugs
  • Driving while unfit including: 
  • Having an injury, 
  • Being unable to see clearly, 
  • Not taking required prescribed drugs
  • Being fatigued
  • Driving whilst knowing the vehicle has a dangerous fault or an unsafe load
  • Driving whilst distracted by, for example, reading a map, using a hand-held phone, lighting a cigarette
  • Causing serious injury

Proving Dangerous Driving

As set out above, to prove the offence the prosecution must show that the standard of your driving did indeed fall far below that which could be expected of a reasonably competent driver and that it would be obvious to the careful and competent driver that driving in such a way was dangerous. 

If they can do this then you can be convicted of dangerous driving. Factors that can impact on your sentence include;

  • Evidence of consumption of alcohol or drugs
  • Excessive speed
  • Offence committed whilst driver was disqualified / had no licence and/or insurance
  • Competitive driving, racing or showing off
  • Previous convictions, poor driving record and disregard for earlier sentences imposed
  • Disregard for other pedestrians or road users in the vicinity; and
  • Prolonged episode of bad driving.

Dangerous Driving Mitigating Factors

Our expertise in handling dangerous driving offences will help the courts to consider mitigating factors to reduce the sentence. These can include, the impact a driving ban would have on your personal circumstances, your previous good character and any offences you have committed.

Our team here at Lanyon Bowdler will work with you in presenting mitigation, and reduce your sentence so please contact us.

It might be that the police wish to question you. If so, advice and assistance at the police station is free, and you should ask for Lanyon Bowdler to be present.

What is the sentence for a dangerous driving charge?

Dangerous driving offences will be dealt with by the Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court, depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Dangerous driving sentencing guidelines can include a custodial sentence and if found guilty, you could be hit with an unlimited fine, a driving ban and up to 14 years in prison. Your driving licence would also be endorsed.

A dangerous driving charge is a very serious offence and the courts have strong sentencing powers.

We Understand Your Position

At Lanyon Bowdler we understand being charged with a dangerous driving offence can be upsetting and worrying. We understand that motoring accidents can happen and that just because you are being charged does not necessarily mean it’s your fault. 

We are here to help you through and it is in your best interests to call us as soon as possible. 

We are a leading law firm in regard to dangerous driving offences. We can assist you through the entire process and represent you in court if necessary. Complete our enquiry form today and one of specialist driving offence laywers will get in touch with you


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