Negligent Driving in NSW

The Offence

Negligent driving in NSW is generally defined as a failure to take proper care, therefore to be proven guilty of negligent driving the prosecution need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you failed to take proper care when you were driving your vehicle.

There are three main charges in relation to negligent driving.

These include:

  • Negligent driving that does not occasion death or grievous bodily harm (GBH);
  • Negligent driving that occasions GBH; and
  • Negligent driving that occasions death

Some examples of driving that may be deemed “negligent” include:

  • Driving at excessive speed for the driving conditions
  • Driving so close to the car in front that you can’t see the road ahead
  • Failing to slow down or stop if you become dazzled by bright lights, particularly the headlights of the car in front
  • Not providing enough warning when changing direction
  • Failing to take care at intersections and/or reduce your speed

The Penalty

Not Occasioning Death or GBH

Unlike many other traffic offences, negligent driving alone does not have a mandatory period of disqualification, although the court can impose a 12-month disqualification period if believed to be appropriate.

Occasioning GBH

Negligent driving which has resulted in GBH will be liable to 20 penalty units, equating to a $2,200 fine and/ or imprisonment for 9 months, for a first offence, or 30 penalty points, equating to a $3,300 fine, and/or imprisonment for 12 months for a subsequent offence.

Occasioning Death

Negligent driving occasioning death is the most serious of the offences. The Court may enforce a maximum penalty of 30 penalty units ($3,300 fine), in addition to 18 months imprisonment, for a first offence, or 50 penalty units ($5,500 fine) and/or imprisonment for 2 years for a subsequent offence.

Can I Defend the Charge?

The main defences used for negligent driving are duress and necessity, and if you can prove that you were driving in a negligent manner due to extenuating circumstances, you may be able to successfully raise a defence to the charges.

It is important to get in touch with ZD Legal’s Driving Defence Lawyers immediately if you have been charged with this offence.