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Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving

Motorists in the United Kingdom are often confused at the difference between careless (or inconsiderate) driving and dangerous driving. The penalties are known as CD10 and DD40, respectively. The law defines them as laws that specifically target behaviour, and not belief. While you may think you are driving safe, if it falls below the standards set out by the law, then you can be subject to either penalty. In addition, there are a few other careless driving and dangerous driving charges you can get depending on the specific context.

Those standards mentioned above include:

·         Being Dangerously Distracted

·         Driving A Knowingly Unsafe Vehicle

·         Knowingly Driving Unfit

·         Ignoring Traffic Signals

·         Dangerous Lane Switches (Aggressive Overtaking)

·         Aggressive Driving

While there are other standards, these make up a large portion of all careless & dangerous driving offences.

What’s The Difference?

Law enforcement officers have full discretion in deciding whether you will get a citation for careless or inconsiderate driving, or the more serious dangerous driving.

The law states that if your driving tactics fall “below” the standards, you are driving carelessly. If you fall “well below” them, you are driving dangerously. While different people will have different opinions on which one you violated, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service have the ultimate say.


If you accidentally run a red light, for example, you are only subject to careless driving. However, if you run multiple, or if you intentionally ignore traffic signals, you are then driving dangerously. The same goes for speeding – only a little over the limit is not as serious as driving twice the speed limit.


Dangerous driving is much more serious in the law books. It can lead to an unlimited fine, a mandatory licence ban, and up to 2 years in prison. On the other hand, for careless/inconsiderate driving, you are facing a fine at most, as well as 3 to 11 penalty points on your license.

26/12/2015 11:16