Negligent Driving and Penalties NSW

Pursuant to Section 117 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSWNegligent Driving means driving without the due care and attention reasonably expected of the ordinary prudent driver. 

The definition of “drive” is not defined in the legislation. Although in case law, to “drive” includes being in “control of the steering, movement or propulsion of a vehicle”. An ability to steal a vehicle is not essential. Control over propulsion, that is, over the mode of moving and stopping the vehicle is sufficient to be a driver.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is generally defined as a failure to take proper care. 

Some examples of negligent driving include:

  • Failing to take care of an intersection and /or reduce your speed
  • Driving close to a car in front of you that you cannot see the road ahead
  • Drive at excessive speed for the driving conditions
  • Not providing enough warning when changing directions
  • Filing to slow down or stop if you become dazzled by the headlights of a car in front

There are three main charges of negligent driving. These are: 

1. Negligent driving

2. Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm

3. Negligent driving occasioning death.

The elements of negligent driving charges is established where if proven beyond reasonable doubt, that you drove a motor vehicle in a manner involving a departure from the standard of care for other uses of the road to be expected of the ordinary prudent driver in the circumstances. 


What the court must take into account in assessing the likely penalty for this offence is the degree of negligence and, where relevant,  the type and extent of any injuries sustained by anyone as a result of the negligence. 

In cases where there is no accident, you may receive a traffic infringement notice carrying demerit points.

For negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm or death, the penalties for these offences can be severe and include mandatory licence disqualification and possible terms of imprisonment. 

Charged with Negligent Driving?

If you have been charged with negligent driving, it is important that you speak to an experienced negligent driving lawyer to ensure that you get the best possible outcome in cases where it attracts the most severe penalties of either a lengthy licence disqualification or full-time imprisonment. 

It is also important to understand what possible legal defences you might have available in your case. 

Our experienced negligent driving lawyers have also appeared in court and made compelling submissions for the Court not to record a criminal conviction. 

Call us (02) 9152 8619 to find out more on how to avoid a criminal record if you have been charged with a serious office.