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Careless driving (driving without due care)

Elements of offence

It is an offence to drive without due care or attention or without reasonable consideration for others [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 45].


A person who has been in any way negligent in the driving of a motor vehicle may be charged with this offence and it is often used in addition to another offence, where an admission has been made, or it appears the driver was careless. This is often the case where a driver has had a collision that is solely their fault (most notably running into a stationary object, such as a street sign or a parked car). If a driver pleads guilty to the other offence with which they have been charged it is likely that the police will agree to withdrawing the due care (also referred to as ‘careless driving’) offence.


For a basic (non-aggravated) offence — a fine of up to $2500 and 3 demerit points [see Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 164A and Motor Vehicles Regulations 2010 (SA) Sch 4 pt 1(1)].

For an aggravated* offence — a maximum of 12 months imprisonment and at least 6 months disqualification [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 45].

* An aggravated offence includes the following:

  • where death or serious harm is caused to another person
  • where the offence was committed in the course of attempting to escape a police pursuit
  • where the offender drove knowing that he/she was disqualified from driving
  • where the offender had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or greater at the time of the offence
  • where the offender was driving at excessive speed [s 45A] or driving under the influence [s 47]
Dishonest communication with a child  :  Last Revised: Fri Aug 10th 2018
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