Elements of the offence
A lesser offence to causing death or injury is driving in a reckless manner or at a speed or a manner which is dangerous to any person [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 46(1)]. A person may be charged with this offence even in situations where no one is injured and it is quite a common offence when drivers are caught driving at high speeds. Charges may be laid even if the driving posed no danger to any other road user (member of the public), but only to the driver him or herself: Senior v R SASC 88, BC200500978.
What is dangerous driving?
Whether or not driving is dangerous depends on many factors, for example the time of day, whether other cars or people were about, any roads which may intersect with the road the defendant is travelling on, the condition of the road and whether the driver had been drinking as well as other relevant circumstances, such as the condition of the vehicle and whether the brakes or the tyres were defective - especially if the vehicle was travelling at high speed.
The penalty for the offence is a maximum two years' imprisonment. In addition, the court must order a disqualification period of at least 12 months for a first offence or at least three years for a subsequent offence. A subsequent offence is an offence committed within five years of a previous similar offence.
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