What Speed is Dangerous Driving?




IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH dangerous driving, you will receive a summons.

These words will appear on that summons:


“That you did on [date] at [the place of driving] drove mechanically propelled vehicle registered number [XXX] in a manner, (including speed), which having regard to all the circumstances of the case (including the condition of the vehicle, the nature, condition and use of such place and the amount of traffic which then actually was or might reasonably be expected then to be therein) was dangerous to the public or was likely to be dangerous to the public”


The first thing that you notice is that it is a subjective test i.e. whether you’re driving is “dangerous” is entirely up to the Guard.


Speed on its own can possibly
be regarded as dangerous driving.
The operative word here is “possibly”.
Not definitely.
Possibly


In practice the degree of seriousness should make the charge of dangerous driving fairly easy to understand. In other words, the driving is usually acceptable by all parties due to some accident, serious risk of accident, bad overtaking etc.

Its usually obvious.


But sometimes it is not.

Sometimes the State bring a charge of dangerous driving in questionable circumstances.


What about speeding?

If the speed -on its own- was very high it could be regarded as dangerous driving.

That’s because the problem with dangerous driving is that it is not clearly defined.


You can see from the charge above that dangerous driving can be driving “in a manner including speed”.


So speed on its own can possibly be regarded as dangerous driving.

The operative word here is “possibly”.

Not definitely.

Possibly.


Driving at 150kph on a
secondary road where the limit is 100kph
might be regarded as dangerous driving.
Driving at 150 kph on a wide motorway
where the limit is 120kph might not.


OTHER FACTORS APPLY.

Like the time of the day, the type of road you were driving on, the amount of traffic that was on the road at the time, the amount of traffic that might be expected to be on the road at that time, the condition of your car, weather conditions etc.


There’s a lot of variables here and all these taken together may or may not elevate driving to the status of ‘dangerous’.

In the same way all these factors taken together may mean that the charge may not amount to dangerous driving.


For instance, if you drive on a narrow road at 8:30am during rush hour in pouring rain at 30kph over the speed limit, that could be regarded as dangerous driving.

If you drove on the same road at 2am with no traffic and dry road conditions its unlikely to be regarded as dangerous driving.


The difference between them both is the context.

Context is all important.


Because the test for driving is subjective, its open to interpretation.

So, while the State may say that your driving was dangerous, you may freely argue that it was not.


Look at it another way.

Driving at 150kph on a national secondary road -where the limit is 100kph- might be regarded as dangerous driving.

Driving at 150 kph on a wide motorway -where the limit is 120kph- might not.


Context is key.




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