Driving without Care & Attention in QLD

The Offence

This offence of Driving without Care & Attention in QLD is similar to careless driving in other states. To be charged with the offence, section 83 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 sets out that a police officer must be satisfied that a person drove a vehicle either:-

  • without due care and attention; or
  • without reasonable consideration for other persons using that road or place.

This could simply be as a result of not being cautious enough on the road. You can also be charged with careless driving even if you are driving on private property, or where there is no other car involved and there is no accident or damaged caused. 

Some examples of driving that may be considered to be sufficient for a charge of driving without due care and attention:

  • Changing lanes without looking and causing another car to swerve;
  • Running a red light or stop sign;
  • Driving erratically by accelerating excessively or braking suddenly;
  • Colliding with another vehicle, whether there is damage caused or not;
  • Colliding with a tree or inanimate object in the road;
  • Driving without care for the conditions of the road (over shooting a turn on a narrow bend / not stopping at a pedestrians crossing with pedestrians near, or sliding in the rain by not slowing down)

Circumstances of Aggravation

On 18 June 2018, the law in Queensland changed to add ‘circumstances of aggravation’ to this offence, where the person’s driving causes the death or grievous bodily harm of another.

The Penalty

This offence does not carry a mandatory disqualification period, and typically if the circumstances are not too severe, we mostly see a fine being issued as sufficient.

Where a licence suspension is considered appropriate, anywhere from 1-6 months is possible, depending on the facts of your case.

Additionally, you will incur 3 demerit points against your licence from Queensland Transport upon a conviction for this offence.  The demerit points will be deemed to have been incurred at the time of the incident not the date the Court deals with the matter.  If the issue of demerit points occurs while you are on a good driving behaviour period you may need to apply for a special hardship licence.

If convicted of the “aggravated” offence, the penalty has now increased to a possible maximum penalty of 80 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment, or 2 years imprisonment if also unlicensed at the time.

Can I Defend the Charge?

Defences to this charge are quite difficult, given how low the burden is on the prosecution to show that your driving was lacking sufficient care. Certain defences may include that the driving alleged did not occur at all, it is unable to be determined / identified as you that was driving during the period the police observed the vehicle, or that there was an intervening event that was outside of your control (eg swerving to avoid an animal).

It is important to note that if you plead guilty or are found guilty and the court disqualifies you from driving for careless driving, it cannot, by law, grant a work or day licence.