Road Traffic Offences in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Attorney General's Reference (Nos. 14 and 24 of 1993); R v Shepherd; R v Wernet
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 17 December 1993

    The Road Traffic Act 1991 created two new offences by way of amendment of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Section 1 of the 1991 Act substituted for sections 1 and 2 of the 1988 Act the new offence of causing death by dangerous driving, thereby replacing the offence of causing death by reckless driving. At one time earlier in the somewhat chequered history of road traffic offences there had been an offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

  • R v Simmonds
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 22 January 1999

    In the context of a statutory regime for road traffic offences that envisages the causing of death as a factor leading to an enhanced statutory sentencing bracket, and in a context in which, where such offences are considered, the courts regard additional deaths as an aggravating factor ( Boswell (supra), R v Toombs [1997] 2 Cr App R (S) 217) we find the concept of a road traffic offence in which the sentencing court is obliged to disregard the fact that a death has been caused as wholly anomalous.

  • Re Attorney General's Reference (No.152 of 2002); R v Robert Charles Cooksley
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 03 April 2003

    It is designed to protect road users in the future from an offender who had shown himself to be a real risk on the roads. The Panel suggests the risk represented by the offender is reflected in the level of culpability which attaches to his driving so that matters relevant to fixing the length of the driving disqualification for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving will be much the same as those factors we have listed already.

  • R v Boswell
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 19 June 1984

    Thirdly, the driver who disregards warnings from his passengers, a feature which occurs quite frequently in this type of offence. Fourthly, prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of very bad driving – one of the cases today illustrates that ~ a person who over a lengthy stretch of road ignores traffic signals, jumps red lights, passing other vehicles on the wrong side, driving with excessive speed, driving on the pavement and so on.

  • Brown v Stott (Procurator Fiscal, Dunfermline)
    • Privy Council
    • 05 December 2000

    The jurisprudence of the European Court very clearly establishes that while the overall fairness of a criminal trial cannot be compromised, the constituent rights comprised, whether expressly or implicitly, within article 6 are not themselves absolute. Limited qualification of these rights is acceptable if reasonably directed by national authorities towards a clear and proper public objective and if representing no greater qualification than the situation calls for.

  • R v Lawrence (Stephen)
    • House of Lords
    • 19 March 1981

    Recklessness on the part of the doer of an act does presuppose that there is something in the circumstances that would have drawn the attention of an ordinary prudent individual to the possibility that his act was capable of causing the kind of serious harmful consequences that the section which creates the offence was intended to prevent, and that the risk of those harmful consequences occurring was not so slight that an ordinary prudent individual would feel justified in treating them as negligible.

    If satisfied that an obvious and serious risk was created by the manner of the defendant's driving, the jury are entitled to infer that he was in one or other of the states of mind required to constitute the offence and will probably do so; but regard must be given to any explanation he gives as to his state of mind which may displace the inference.

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Books & Journal Articles
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Road Traffic Defence
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... Because road traffic offences often cause risks to public safety, the penalties for a conviction can be severe and include the imposition of penalty points, disqualification from ......
  • Motorists Beware! New Guideline Means Tougher Sentence
    • Mondaq UK
    ...... the sentencing guidelines for more serious road traffic offences (the "Guideline") show there is ......
  • Speedy Justice For Motorists
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... that it proposes to send half a million road traffic cases each year to a separate fast-track ... free up Court time meaning that serious offences can be dealt with more expeditiously. So what ......
  • Ever Thought About Using A Mobile Phone Whilst Driving?
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...Mobile phone offences are a hot topic at the moment and police are ... avoid penalty points for a large range of Road Traffic Offences by scrutinising the evidence and ......
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