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What’s the Difference Between Negligent and Dangerous Driving?

What’s the Difference Between Negligent and Dangerous Driving?

Negligent driving and dangerous driving sound quite the same. But there's a key difference you should know.

30th August 2019

Parking in a no-parking zone is a minor traffic offence. Minor offences like this usually result in fines and demerit points. Punishment will vary depending on the seriousness of the crime. Some matters, however, are much more serious and can result in disqualification. For instance, police chases are a good example. Two further ‘major offences’ involve negligent and dangerous driving. While the terms ‘negligent’ and ‘dangerous’ sound the same to the average person, courts can view them very differently. If you feel like you need further legal advice in relation to these matters, visit our lawyer marketplace and seek advice more relevant to you.

If you or anybody you know has been involved in an accident, please call the relevant authorities on 000.

The differences between negligent and dangerous driving are below.

Negligent Driving

All Australian states look down upon negligent driving. Some states refer to it as ‘careless’ driving. Similarly, negligent driving involves driving in a careless way without the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some good examples of this include texting while driving or falling asleep at the wheel.

Below are the maximum penalties for negligent driving if nobody is hurt or injured, and it is your first offence:

Maximum penalties involving injury to another person:

  • New South Wales – 20 penalty units ($2,200) and 9 months imprisonment.
  • Queensland – 80 penalty units ($10,444) or 1 years imprisonment.
  • Victoria – If somebody is injured or dies, Victorian courts consider it ‘dangerous driving’ regardless of the circumstance.
  • Western Australia – 720 penalty units ($36,000) and 3 years imprisonment.
  • Northern Territory – 20 penalty units ($3,080) and 7 years imprisonment (this is dealt with in the Criminal Code Act).
  • South Australia – $2,500 and 12 months imprisonment.
  • Tasmania – 10 penalty units ($1,680) and 12 months imprisonment.
  • Australian Capital Territory – 100 penalty units ($15,000) and 12 months imprisonment.

Penalties increase if somebody dies. Get in touch with one of our trusted criminal lawyers on our marketplace if you need further advice.

Dangerous Driving

A driving offence is dangerous when there are things that the court considers ‘aggravating’. This usually means that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol but can also simply refer to speeding in a dangerous manner. It also usually involves purposely being careless on the road.

Here are the maximum punishments for dangerous driving across Australia:

  • New South Wales – 20 penalty units ($2,200) and 9 months imprisonment.
  • Queensland – 200 penalty units ($26,110) and 3 years imprisonment, which can also increase to 400 penalty units ($52,220) and 5 years imprisonment if you are going more than 40km/h over the speed limited or are intoxicated.
  • Victoria – 240 penalty units ($35,420) and 2 years imprisonment.
  • Western Australia – 720 penalty units ($36,000) and 3 years imprisonment and a minimum of 3 years driving ban.
  • Northern Territory – 20 penalty units ($3,080) and 7 years imprisonment.
  • South Australia – 2 years imprisonment and at least 12 months driving ban.
  • Tasmania – 20 penalty units and 2 years imprisonment.
  • Australian Capital Territory – 300 penalty units ($45,000) and 3 years imprisonment.

Conclusion

The key difference between negligent and dangerous driving is that a person can be negligent without being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Because of differences between state laws, some of these penalties can change depending on different circumstances involving incidents. So, if you need any advice in relation to a driving offence, check out our trusted criminal lawyers to get personalised legal advice.

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

Author
MHoyle
Michael Hoyle

Michael is a legal intern at LawPath working with the content team. With an interest in contracts, intellectual property, and constitutional law, Michael is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws with a Bachelor of Commerce at Macquarie University.