Negligent Driving charges
Author: Adam Faro
Liverpool Local Court
Represented by solicitor: Adam Faro, criminal defence lawyer
Police were travelling along the Hume Highway when they observed our client’s vehicle using a designated right-hand turning lane to overtake other vehicles. They then observed our client continue to rapidly overtake other vehicles. Our client stopped at a red light at an intersection, with police stopped three vehicles behind him.
Upon the light turning green, police heard what they believed to be the engine of our client’s vehicle rev before hearing its tyres screech as the vehicle launched itself from the middle lane to the inside lane, something which caused the police to believe that the wheels of our client’s vehicle had a momentary loss of traction. Our client then made a left hand turn, after which he was stopped by police and questioned in relation to his driving.
About three weeks after the incident, police decided to charge our client with negligent driving, in breach of section 42(1)(c) of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act. In charging him with this offence, they deemed that his conduct in:
i) using a right-hand lane to overtake vehicles,
ii) continuing to rapidly overtake vehicles, and
iii) apparently losing traction of the wheels of his vehicle, fell short of the standard of care for other road users to be expected of the ordinary prudent driver in the circumstances.
Our client was 31 years old, had a lengthy traffic record, and needed his licence for work. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and the matter proceeded to a defended hearing in the Local Court.
On the day of hearing, Mr. Faro made submissions that our client had been driving in a safe and prudent manner, that his driving had not caused any safety concerns on the road, and that, as a result, his driving had not been negligent.
These submissions convinced the magistrate of our client’s innocence in relation to the offence, and he held that he was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that our client’s conduct amounted to negligent driving. As a result, the charges against our client were dismissed and he was acquitted of the offence.
Adam Faro is a criminal defence lawyer based at our Sydney Office.
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