Under section 117(2) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a public road in a manner that is considered by the court as being dangerous to the public.
According to the case of McBride, driving in a manner dangerous to the public is described as driving that “is in a real sense potentially dangerous to a human being or human beings who as a member or as members of the public may be upon or in the vicinity of the roadway on which the driving is taking place.”
The maximum penalty for an offence of driving in a manner dangerous to the public is a fine of $3,600.00 and/or 9 months imprisonment (in the case of a first offence) or a fine of $5,400.00 and/or 12 months imprisonment (in the case of a second or subsequent offence).
In NSW, the standard for proving negligent driving is fairly low. A driver may be found to be negligent if they did not drive in the manner that a reasonable prudent driver would have driven given all the circumstances. A determination of all of the circumstances includes including consideration of the variable factors such as weather, road and traffic conditions.
There are three main charges of negligent driving as outlined under section 117(1) of the Road Transport Act 2013:
- Negligent driving not occasioning death or grievous bodily harm (GBH);
- Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm;
- Negligent driving occasioning death.
The first of these charges is usually dealt with by way of traffic infringement notice. Often, it is the result of a minor crash and the infringement notice will be issued to any or all of the vehicles involved. This infringement notice carries with it three (3) demerit points.
Negligent driving occasioning death or GBH are both very serious charges. Negligent driving occasioning death carries a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment while negligent driving occasioning GBH carries a maximum penalty of 30 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment.
These charges carry with them the likelihood of a criminal conviction and lengthy loss of licence together with other penalties
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