Dangerous and careless driving: What is it and how to report

Dangerous driving is when a driver does not operate their vehicle in a safe manner. This can include speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, not paying attention to the road, and more. Surely, we’ve all been witnesses to dangerous driving whether as a driver or a passenger. Find out more about what to do if you spot dangerous driving and how you can report it.

Can you report a dangerous driver?

Yes, you are well within your right as a law-abiding citizen to report dangerous driving. If you feel you are witnessing careless or dangerous driving and want to do something about it, you can dial 101 which is the non-emergency number for the police.

However, if it is a road traffic accident or someone is in immediate danger then call 999.

How to report dangerous driving?

There are two ways you can report dangerous driving. One is by calling 101 and the other is using the online reporting tool. The MET police also have a reporting form for offences across UK.

Make sure when you witness dangerous driving to make note of a few important things that the police may inquire about such as:

  • Vehicle Registration Number (or the Licence Plate)
  • Make, model and colour of the vehicle
  • Location (or postcode) and time the incident occurred
  • Image or video evidence if possible/ available and safe to do

Dangerous driving vs Careless or inconsiderate driving

Dangerous driving

Dangerous driving is a leading cause of accidents and fatalities on the roads. This is officially defined by the police as “The offence of dangerous driving is when driving falls far below the minimum standard expected of a competent and careful driver, and includes behaviour that could potentially endanger yourself or other drivers.”

Examples of dangerous driving

Some common examples of dangerous driving include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Ignoring traffic lights
  • Ignoring road signs
  • Ignoring warnings from passengers
  • Driving after knowing the vehicle has a dangerous fault
  • Driving after knowing the vehicle has an unsafe load

What are the penalties for dangerous driving?

In England, Wales and Scotland penalties for dangerous driving can be grouped into 5 categories. In addition to penalty points, courts will often impose further fines and prison sentences depending on the severity of the offence. The penalties for causing death by dangerous driving are one to 14 years in prison and a driving ban for a minimum of two years. Gov.uk’s dedicated penalty points overview suggests the following.

Code Offence Penalty points
DD10 Causing serious injury by dangerous driving 3 to 11
DD40 Dangerous driving 3 to 11
DD60 Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle 3 to 11
DD80 Causing death by dangerous driving 3 to 11
DD90 Furious driving 3 to 9

 

Busy motorway

Careless or inconsiderate driving

The MET police defines this as “The offence of driving without due care and attention (careless driving) is committed when your driving falls below the minimum standard expected of a competent and careful driver, and includes driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.”

Driving without due care and attention can lead to a fine, a fixed-penalty notice, of £100 and 3 points on your licence. In aggravated circumstances, you may be further prosecuted in court, receive 9 points on your licence and/or have your licence revoked and face an unlimited fine.

Examples of careless or inconsiderate driving

Common examples of careless or inconsiderate driving are as follows:

  • Tailgating
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Running red lights
  • Undertaking
  • Lane-hogging
  • Driving and being distracted by eating, drinking or passengers in the vehicle

What are the penalties for careless or inconsiderate driving?

Examples of penalties for careless or inconsiderate driving can be as follows, they can be accompanied by fines, revoking of the licence. Furthermore, the penalties for causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving are up to 5 years in prison, and a driving ban for a minimum of one year. The penalty points and offence codes will remain on your licence for 4 to 11 years depending on the offence.

Code Offence Penalty points
CD10 Driving without due care and attention 3 to 9
CD20 Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users 3 to 9
CD30 Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users 3 to 9
CD40 Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink 3 to 11
CD50 Causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs 3 to 11
CD60 Causing death by careless driving with alcohol level above the limit 3 to 11
CD70 Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a specimen for alcohol analysis 3 to 11
CD80 Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving 3 to 11
CD90 Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers 3 to 11

 

Someone using their mobile phone – is that dangerous driving?

Using a mobile phone or any other handheld device in your vehicle is, as of March 2022, a specific offence – even if your vehicle is stationary. It can also be considered dangerous or careless driving.

It is now illegal to use a handheld device that is “capable of transmitting and receiving data, whether or not those capabilities are enabled” whilst in a vehicle. This includes when the car is stationary at traffic lights. According to this rule, drivers are not allowed to use the device to change playlists or access any navigation apps.

Guidance from the Highway Code on ‘Using a phone, sat nav or other device when driving’ suggests that you can receive a £200 fine if caught, and 6 penalty points. If you passed your licence in the last 2 years you will also lose your licence. Furthermore, in particularly egregious cases you can also be taken to court.

Is my dangerous driving report confidential?

All details given to the police will be kept confidential, and the person in the report won’t know the identity of the person who has reported them.

Can I use dashcam footage to report dangerous driving?

Yes, you can certainly submit video evidence in the form of dashcam footage in a dangerous driving report. Make sure you submit only original, unedited footage.

You can also use the National Dash Cam Safety Portal by NextBase which is sent directly to the local police. According to NextBase, more than 50,000 have been uploaded so far out of which one-third of them have resulted in some form of police action.

If you decide to capture and submit any footage recorded on your phone while driving which is illegal under the new driving rules, bear in mind that this can also result in a penalty for you.