New careless driving penalty introduced

A new fixed penalty notice of £100 and three penalty points has been introduced to help tackle careless driving in Northern Ireland.

In 2021, 486 people were sadly killed or seriously injured as a result of collisions on our roads where the cause has been attributed to a careless driving causation factor. This reinforces the responsibility that we all have to drive carefully so that such life changing and devastating consequences are avoided.

The move is seen as an important step forward in dealing with a prevalent road safety issue whilst also improving the administrative process for the existing careless driving offence.

The new fixed penalty will provide proportionate justice for low level careless driving offences without the need for court proceedings. This will save both public money and time.

Drivers who commit more serious offences are warned that there will be no change to how these offences will be dealt with. They will continue to find themselves before the court and subject to substantial penalties.

The new arrangements introduced today will also enable PSNI to offer careless drivers the option of remedial training as an alternative to the fixed penalty notice. The aim is to influence the future decisions of drivers so that they will drive more attentively, with more care and with more personal responsibility. Costs associated with the course will be met by the offender as an alternative to paying the fixed penalty notice.

Additional Information

  • The option to go to court is still retained should the offender wish to contest the offence.
  • The maximum penalty which applies on conviction in court remains the same i.e. a fine of up to £5,000, between three and nine penalty points to the driver’s licence and, at the discretion of the court, potential disqualification.
  • Remedial training operates at no cost to the public purse and ensures offenders are aware of the causes and negative consequences of risky and inconsiderate driving. The current cost of the remedial training course is £120.80.
  • The new fixed penalty will be used to deliver proportionate justice for low level offending. More serious examples of careless driving will continue to be submitted to Public Prosecution Service for a decision as to prosecution or diversion.
  • Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) provide an alternative to prosecution. If a person accepts the FPN and pays the fixed penalty within the stated date, then the offence will not be recorded as a criminal conviction. The law on fixed penalty offences does not enable the payment of the fixed penalty sum in instalments.

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