Careless driving charges are serious charges that can result in demerit points, steep fines, a suspension of your driver’s license, and even imprisonment. Careless driving charges are usually given to someone who has been involved in a collision that was caused due to driving without care, attention, or consideration for other drivers and pedestrians.
The definition of careless driving is broad and includes several types of driving behaviours that can have a direct, negative impact on yourself and others. Under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), Careless driving is defined as:
“Every person is guilty of the offense of careless driving and driving carelessly who drives a vehicle on a highway without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway,
On conviction for careless driving, the driver is liable to:
A fine of not less than four hundred (400) dollars and not more than two thousand (2,000) dollars or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition, his or her license or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years.”
Instances of careless driving can include not paying attention to road conditions, the driver not paying enough attention to their driving, and driving without consideration for other drivers on the roadway.
Penalties for careless driving
The penalties for being convicted of “careless driving” are highlighted in the Highway Traffic Act as follows:
- 6 demerit points
- A minimum fine of $400, with the potential to exceed $2,000
- Possible suspension of your driver’s license for a period of no more than 2 years
- In extreme cases, possible imprisonment for up to 6 months
You can become uninsurable if a careless driving charge appears on your record. Careless driving charges do not mean the driver was driving dangerously or committing criminal behaviour.
Careless Driving vs Dangerous Driving
Dangerous driving is a more serious offense than careless driving. It involves operating a motor vehicle in a way that is likely to cause harm to other people and property. This can include things like driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or engaging in reckless or aggressive behaviours. Dangerous driving can result in criminal charges, which can carry serious penalties, including jail time and a criminal record.
On the other hand, careless driving involves operating a motor vehicle in a way that shows a lack of care and attention to the safety of others. While careless driving is still a serious offense, it is generally considered to be less serious than dangerous driving. Penalties for careless driving include fines, demerit points, and a potential suspension of your driver’s license.
The main difference between careless driving and dangerous driving is that careless driving is an unplanned event, such as a car accident. Dangerous driving is a planned event, such as drag racing.
Careless driving is not a criminal offense, while dangerous driving is. You will not receive a criminal record for careless driving like you would for dangerous driving.
In Ontario, careless driving falls under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, which is provincial law. This means that while you will not receive a criminal record for careless driving, there will be a record against your driver’s license.
What you need to know about careless driving tickets
When a police officer gives you a ticket for careless driving charges, it is the officer’s opinion that you were driving without due care and attention or driving carelessly.
The Justice of the Peace decides if you are guilty of careless driving, not the police officer who issued you the ticket. You may have a clear defence that must be explained to the court. It is your right that a judge hears your defence.
When a careless driving case is investigated, it is often found that the driver was not driving carelessly, that careless driving was the wrong charge does not apply to your case, or you have a legal defence.
Careless driving charges can negatively affect your driving license.
Our team at FIX-A-TICKET acts in your best interest with the goal of fully eliminating your charges. The team of accident professionals will use their experience to prevent a careless driving charge from staining your driving record.
With over 20 years of experience dealing with careless driving charges, FIX-A-TICKET offers free consultations to help you better understand your options. Call, text, or email us today and let us know how we can help you.