Understanding what constitutes reckless or negligent driving can help you stay on the right side of the traffic law in New South Wales.
There’s a difference between a driver not letting someone merge into their lane and a driver who is a serious risk to fellow road users. Negligent driving or reckless driving can result in lives being destroyed and other harsh penalties under traffic law.
What’s considered reckless or negligent driving?
Reckless driving is generally when a driver is knowingly driving in a dangerous way, without any thought given to the safety of others.
Young drivers are especially at risk from negligent driving accidents. A large study revealed that reckless young drivers are 50% more likely to be in a crash than older drivers who drive recklessly.
Reckless driving encompasses a wide range of road behaviours, including:
- Running red lights.
- Not obeying road signage.
- Driving an unsafe vehicle.
- Driving aggressively, such as tailgating and cutting in front of other cars.
Negligent driving depends a lot on context though, as what may be considered dangerous on a city street could be less dangerous on an empty country road, for instance.
What are the penalties in NSW?
If you are charged with reckless driving in NSW, but nobody was hurt and nothing was damaged, you could be fined up to $2,200 if it’s your first offence, or $3,300 if it’s not your first. You will also probably be disqualified from driving for a period, and you could face time in prison (up to nine months for a first offence, or 12 months for repeat offenders).
Serious negligent driving offences
If you drive negligently and somebody gets hurt, you could be charged with dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm or occasioning death. These are both incredibly serious offences that will require you to go to a court hearing.
Penalties for these driving charges could include up to 14 years in prison in some cases.
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, negligent driving or been involved in an accident, it’s important that you get professional legal advice as soon as possible.
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