Reckless Driving

The offence of Reckless Driving is committed where a person drives their vehicle in a way that is considered by the court to be reckless.

The offence of Reckless Driving is contained in s117(2) Road Transport Act and states:

A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a road furiously, recklessly or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to the public.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units or imprisonment for 9 months or both (in the case of a first offence) or 30 penalty units or imprisonment for 12 months or both (in the case of a second or subsequent offence).

What Actions Might Constitute Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving has been defined as driving in such a way so as “to create a real risk of causing physical injury to someone else who happens to be using the road or damage to property more substantial than the kind of minor damage that may be caused by an error of judgment in the course of parking one’s car” (R v Lawrence [1982] AC 510).

This might include, for example:

  • Overtaking at speed whilst approaching a blind rise;
  • Drifting over the centre of the road while rounding a corner;
  • Doing a burnout in the middle of a busy intersection.

What The Police Must Prove:

To convict you of Reckless Driving, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You drove motor vehicle;
  • You drove that motor vehicle on a road;
  • You drove that motor vehicle recklessly.

Possible Defences For Reckless Driving:

  • To maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
  • To argue that you were not driving a motor vehicle;
  • To argue that you were not driving recklessly; or
  • To raise necessity or duress as the reason for your conduct

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

The offence is a summary offence and can only be finalised in the Local Court.


In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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