Careless or dangerous driving includes operating any vehicle in a public space without necessary precaution, attention, and care. This also includes driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any substance that may impair the judgement of the driver and increase the risk of injury for the driver or third party.
The Garda Síochána has the right to stop your vehicle, fine, or arrest you if they believe you’re putting personal safety or those of others at risk. If you are involved in such a situation, you are advised to seek advice from a solicitor.
What offences are included under careless or dangerous driving?
The following is a list of driving offences that can be subject to a fine:
- Tailgating or sudden braking (regardless of the traffic)
- Overtaking from the wrong side
- Driving over the speed limit, car racing, or driving aggressively
- Taking turns, switching lanes, or parking without necessary precautions
- Paying attention to mobile phones or any other distraction inside/outside the car
- Ignoring traffic lights, or other road and warning signs placed for safety.
- Ignoring the rules of the motorway or other pointers
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, or any other substance
- Driving after being declared unfit (due to injuries, medical condition, etc.)
- Driving a vehicle with a known fault (broken tail lights, unsafe load, etc.)
What are the penalties for such cases?
The common penalties for careless or dangerous driving are as follows:
- A two-year license disqualification for the first offence; and a four-year license disqualification for second or subsequent offence in three years
- Careless driving without causing any bodily harm: two penalty points and an €80 fine, €120 if you already have 4 penalty points or higher
- Careless driving causing death or bodily harm: €10,000 fine and two-year imprisonment
- Dangerous driving with or without causing any harm: €5,000 fine and up to six-month imprisonment
- Dangerous driving resulting in bodily harm and/or death: €20,000 fine and up to 10-year imprisonment
Earning 12 penalty points on your driving license may lead to disqualification.
What are the most common defences?
The most common defence used by careless and dangerous driving solicitors are as follows:
- Driving under duress
- Due to a sudden mechanical defect (due to no fault of the driver)
- Automatism – driving without conscious understanding
However, it is to be noted that the court has discretion in regards to careless driving and the ruling may or may not be to disqualify the license without reasonable consideration.