How to Report Dangerous Driving

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 7 days ago

5 min read

  • Car ownership
Dangerous driver using phone

WhoCanFixMyCar explains the process of reporting a dangerous driver.

Dangerous drivers put us all at risk. That’s why it’s essential to report them even if you don’t have any dash cam footage of the incident. Road safety should be everybody’s priority.

This guide explains what dangerous driving involves, what penalties it can bring, and how to report it.

Contents

What is dangerous driving?

Is dangerous driving a criminal offence?

Should I report dangerous driving?

How to report dangerous driving

Can I report someone anonymously for dangerous driving?

The penalties for dangerous driving

What happens next if you report someone for dangerous driving?

What is careless driving?

How to report careless driving


In a nutshell: You can report dangerous driving by calling the police's non-emergency number (101) or using a website like Nextbase to submit dash cam footage. If you think the dangerous driver could cause serious injury to themself or someone else, report the incident by calling 999 immediately.


What is dangerous driving?

Under section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, “dangerous driving is committed when a person’s driving falls far below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver, and it would be obvious that driving in that way would be dangerous.”

More simply, dangerous driving puts you and other road users at risk. It might also be called anti-social or careless driving, depending on the severity of the offence.

Police offer has pulled over a driver.

Dangerous driving examples

You can probably already think of a few examples of dangerous driving, such as speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol. Other instances include:

  • Ignoring road signs and traffic lights

  • Speeding, racing or driving aggressively

  • Driving with an injury or when you can’t see properly

  • Drink or drug-driving

  • Knowingly driving with an unsafe load or dangerous fault

  • Being avoidably and dangerously distracted (by a mobile phone or another passenger, for instance)


Is dangerous driving a criminal offence?

Yes, dangerous driving is a criminal offence. It’s the most serious offence a motorist can commit without causing death or injury. If convicted, you could go to prison and face a driving ban.

Learn about more common driving offences and their penalties.


Should I report dangerous driving?

If dangerous driving goes unreported, the offender is likely to continue driving in an unsafe manner, and eventually, someone could get hurt. It’s always best to report it. You can do so anonymously, which makes it easier if you know the driver.


How to report dangerous driving

Your role in reporting a dangerous driver is crucial. You can submit your witness report online after the event or call the police. However, if you believe the driver poses a significant risk to themselves and other road users, potentially leading to a serious injury, you should dial 999 and report the incident immediately. Remember to pull over in a safe place to make the call.

Woman on her phone standing near a car

In a non-emergency, you can call the police by dialling 101. You'll need the number plate of the offending vehicle, an independent witness or video footage, and you'll also need to be willing to attend court to give evidence if required.

Reporting a bad driver caught on your dash cam

Dash cam footage is the ideal way to prove the incident happened. Here’s how to submit your footage to the police:

  • Wait until you’re out of the car. You should wait until you’re at home to make a report.

  • Submit the footage online. Websites like Nextbase will send your footage to your local police force.

  • Or contact the police directly. Call 101 or the number of your local police station. They will ask you to tell them about the incident and send you a link to submit the footage online.

Close up of a car's dash cam

Remember to drive safely

The police won’t just review the driving of the person you have reported. They will also look at your driving in the footage. Here are a couple of things to remember:

  • Never use your mobile phone to take a picture or video while driving.

  • All offences in your footage will be addressed, including your own.

Reporting a bad driver without dash cam footage

If you don’t have a dash cam to capture the incident, you’ll need to make a note of as many details as you can before submitting a report to the police, including:

  • The vehicle’s registration

  • The colour, make and model of the vehicle

  • The time and place where the incident happened

  • Any other details you can provide, such as a description of the driver


Can I report someone anonymously for dangerous driving?

Any information you give to the police will be treated confidentially. The driver who you reported will not be told that you reported them. However, the police will take your contact details in case they need any further information, and you might have to appear in court if the police decide to prosecute the driver.


The penalties for dangerous driving

There are five categories of dangerous driving, each of which is a separate offence. The penalties given to dangerous drivers will depend on the offence they’re charged with and the circumstances of the incident.

The points for different offences are outlined in the table below. These stay on record for four years from the date of the offence.

CodeOffencePoints
DD10Causing serious injury by dangerous driving3 to 11
DD40Dangerous driving3 to 11
DD60Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle3 to 11
DD80Causing death by dangerous driving3 to 11
DD90Furious driving3 to 9

There are also different types of penalties to be aware of.

Types of penaltiesDangerous driving
Penalty pointsBetween 3 and 11
DisqualificationMinimum of 2 years
FineUnlimited maximum fine
ImprisonmentUp to 14 years
  • DD40 and DD80 offences come with an automatic driving ban. Causing death by driving carries a two-year ban.

  • Any driver with more than 12 points on their licence within three years also faces a ban.

  • You can receive an unlimited fine for dangerous driving charges.

  • Prison terms can reach ten years or more for death by dangerous driving.

What is the minimum sentence for death by dangerous driving?

Death by dangerous driving will typically result in five or more years in prison.


What happens next if you report someone for dangerous driving?

The police will review your report, including any footage you captured, to see if the driver in question has been reported before. After this, one of three things will happen:

  • The police will pass your report to the local Road Policing Unit, who will see whether further action needs to be taken.

  • Your report will be submitted to a database of dangerous driving reports.

  • The police may send a letter to the vehicle's registered owner to inform them that a report has been filed against them.


What is careless driving?

Careless driving is a less serious offence than dangerous driving. It’s defined as “allowing the standard of driving to fall below that of a competent and careful driver”. 

Dangerous driving focuses on driving that falls far below the expected standard, whereas careless driving relates to any drop in standards. Examples could include:

  • Lane hogging 

  • Tailgating

  • Allowing yourself to be distracted by passengers

  • Allowing yourself to be distracted by eating or drinking

  • Missing road signs, traffic lights or signals

A driver distracted by passenger's phone

Driving without care and attention could land you with a fixed-penalty notice. You would likely receive a £100 fine and three points on your licence. Some police forces offer a driver education course instead.

Using your phone while driving 

The Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 changed the scope of what is classed as using your phone while driving. It is illegal to use any device “capable of transmitting and receiving data, whether or not those capabilities are enabled” while behind the wheel with the engine running. This rule includes when you are stationary or in heavy traffic. 

A distracted driver using phone.

Your phone must be entirely hands-free. Failure to follow this rule could result in six points on your licence and a £200 fine. You can get an additional three points for not having proper control of your car or a full view of the road ahead.

Drink-driving

Drink-driving limits are different across the UK:

  • England, Wales and Northern Ireland - 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

  • Scotland - 50 millilitres of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

You can’t accurately convert these limits into units of alcohol because many variables affect your blood alcohol level, including your metabolism and body mass.

Breathalyser test being done by a driver

When a driver is above the legal limit and has attempted to drive, the police will issue a DR10 charge. A DR20 could be issued if you are not strictly over the legal limit but are still deemed unfit to drive through drink.

Motorists who commit the offence of drink-driving can face severe consequences, including up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine, and a year-long driving ban. These penalties are designed to deter individuals from engaging in this dangerous behaviour.


How to report careless driving

Whether you report dangerous or careless driving, the process relies on evidence. Make a note of the vehicle’s colour, reg number, make and model, and include information about when and where the incident took place. This information is crucial as it helps the authorities locate and identify the driver, increasing the chances of the report leading to action.

If there’s a passenger in your car, you could ask them to record a video of the careless driving, which can be submitted to the police online. To report careless driving, you should follow the procedures described above.


Looking for affordable car repairs or maintenance? WhoCanFixMyCar can help you find the right garage at the right price.

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Written by Ellie

Ellie Author Pic

Ellie is WhoCanFixMyCar’s Content Writer. She has a BA in English literature from Durham University, a master’s degree in creative writing, and three years of experience writing in the automotive industry. She currently drives a Suzuki Swift.

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