Careless Driving

– section 65 of the Road Safety Act 1986

Careless Driving is usually 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.

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.

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 1986.1
penalty fine

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.

If in Magistrates’ Court:

If in County Court:

Other Important Resources
Case Studies

[1] Road Safety Act 1986 – Section 65

(1) A person who drives a motor vehicle on a highway carelessly is guilty of an offence and liable for a first offence to a penalty of not more than 12 penalty units and for a subsequent offence to a penalty of not more than 25 penalty units.
(2) A person must not drive a vehicle, other than a motor vehicle, on a highway carelessly.
Penalty:     For a first offence, 6 penalty units;
For a subsequent offence, 12 penalty units.
(3) In this section—
“vehicle” does not include—
(a) a non-motorised wheel-chair; or(b) a motorised wheel-chair that is not capable of a speed of more than 10km per hour.