Careless Driving

Careless Driving is found in section 65 of the Road Safety Act 1986 in Victoria. This charge is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a highway without demonstrating the care and attention of a reasonable person.

Have you been accused of Careless Driving?

Careless Driving
Police Interview

The Police interview is an important part of the investigation process. The Police are trained in interview techniques that encourage you to reveal information that assist their case against you, it is not a search for the truth. The Police will use your answers to bolster their prosecution and may misinterpret things you say.

Please call us to discuss your matter and get advice from one of our experienced defence lawyers who can give you useful advice about the implications of answering questions.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you are pleading not guilty to a charge of Careless Driving in the Magistrates’ Court, the matter will proceed to a contested hearing. A contest is where the Magistrate hears the evidence and decides if you are guilty or not.

Our lawyers go to Court every single day and contest all types of driving matters. Our lawyers know how to build a defence and pick apart a weak prosecution case. We may be able to do investigations of our own on your vehicle or the accident site to find evidence that supports your version of events such as looking for cctv or dash cam footage.

Pleading Guilty

If you are pleading guilty it is important that you engage an expert lawyer to make a plea on your behalf. A prepared plea can ensure that you have the best chance at receiving the minimum penalty for your offending. There is no mandatory license disqualification for this offence but the Magistrate has discretion to make orders against your license. Our lawyers deal with driving offences every day and can help you get a favourable outcome.


Sentencing in the higher courts of Victoria
Sentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Careless Driving in the Higher Courts of Victoria Between 2016 and 2021
Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria
Sentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Careless Driving in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria Between 2018 and 2021

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.

Our client had got into his car after work. He reversed his car, and at that moment was blinded by bright sunlight. He reversed, and accidentally drove into another parked car where a person was trying to enter her vehicle. She was pinned between her door and her car and broke her pelvis in multiple places. She could not work for three months and required extensive physiotherapy. Following our submissions, the magistrate imposed a fine and licence suspension.

  • 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 (s65 of the Road Safety Act 1986) 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.


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

What is the legal definition of Careless Driving?

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

Other Important Resources
Case Studies