We all sometimes make mistakes when driving, but there is a big difference between a small error and driving dangerously in a way that puts other road users at risk. We look at some examples of dangerous driving, when and how to report it, and how driving dangerously can also affect your insurance policy.
What is dangerous driving?
A person who is driving a vehicle dangerously and judged to be failing the required standards of a competent, careful driver, and generally where their reckless driving will put other road users and pedestrians in danger.
Lesser offences such as lane-hogging, tailgating and being distracted by passengers are defined as careless driving. Examples of dangerous driving include:
- Speeding or aggressive driving
- Driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Ignoring traffic lights or road signs
- Driving a vehicle with a known dangerous fault or one which is improperly loaded
- Driving when distracted – Such as using a phone, programming a sat nav, turning to talk to a passenger or lighting a cigarette are all examples of distractions that can cause someone to drive dangerously.
The penalties for dangerous driving
There are five categories of dangerous driving offences. If you commit a dangerous driving offence, the number of penalty-points you receive will depend on the circumstances and seriousness of the incident.
DD10, which is the offence of “Causing serious injury by dangerous driving”, attracts between 3 – 11 penalty points, as does a DD40.
Whilst a DD60, the offence of “Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle”, and DD80, “Causing death by dangerous driving”, also attract 3 – 11 points.
DD90 is the offence of “Driving furiously”; drivers found guilty of this offence will receive between 3 – 9 penalty points.
Penalty points expire after four years. You can be disqualified from driving if you have more than 12 penalty points on your licence.
The length of time you are disqualified will depend on the court decision and how seriously they view the offence. Typically, 12 points will disqualify you for six months, or 12 months if it’s your second disqualification within three years.
If you are banned for more than 56 days, you must reapply for a driving licence. Being banned from driving can also have a significant impact on your personal and professional life, especially, if you commute by car or work in an industry like the motor trade and have a motor trade insurance policy.
Will penalty points for dangerous driving affect motor insurance?
If you do happen to be given any penalty points you can still get vehicle insurance, but it will in most cases it will become more difficult and cost you more.
You can also still apply for motor trade insurance if you’ve accrued penalty points on your license , but it is essential to be completely honest with the insurance provider, as withholding or providing incorrect details may invalidate your insurance policy.
How to report dangerous driving
When reporting an incident where you believe a person to be driving dangerously, you must not put yourself or others at risk. You can report someone for driving dangerously without giving your details.
Make a note of the time, date, and vehicle registration number, dashcam evidence can also be very helpful as some police forces allow you to upload video footage as evidence.
If you have a passenger, you can ask them to record an incident on a smartphone, but you must never do this yourself when driving.
If you see someone driving, or about to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should contact the police immediately, they will be putting other road users and themselves at risk.
In an emergency you should call the police using 999, if it’s not an emergency, you can report someone by calling 101, the police non-emergency number, or even Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.
A final thought
If you come across an incident of dangerous driving emotions can quickly become heated, which can affect your own driving, always stay calm and make sure you do not end up driving dangerously yourself.