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Section 117 Road Transport Act 2013
Negligent, Furious or Reckless Driving

Section 117 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) is ‘Negligent, Furious or Reckless Driving’ and is extracted below.

If you require the services of a traffic defence team that specialises in representing clients for cases under the Road Transport Act, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers today on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a consultation.

Our team is vastly experienced in advising and representing clients in traffic law cases, and will fight to ensure you achieve the optimal result in the circumstances.

We offer fixed fees for all traffic cases, and a free first conference for those who are going to court.

The Legislation

Section 117 of the Road Transport Act 2013 is Negligent, Furious or Reckless Driving and reads as follows:

Negligent, furious or reckless driving

(cf STM Act, s 42)

(1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a road negligently.

Maximum penalty:

(a) if the driving occasions death–30 penalty units or imprisonment for 18 months or both (in the case of a first offence) or 50 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years or both (in the case of a second or subsequent offence), or

(b) if the driving occasions grievous bodily harm–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), or

(c) if the driving does not occasion death or grievous bodily harm–10 penalty units.

(2) 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.

The penalties

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).

(3) In considering whether an offence has been committed under this section, the court is to have regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the following:

(a) the nature, condition and use of the road on which the offence is alleged to have been committed,

(b) the amount of traffic that actually is at the time, or which might reasonably be expected to be, on the road,

(c) any obstructions or hazards on the road (including, for example, broken down or crashed vehicles, fallen loads and accident or emergency scenes).

(4) In this section:

“grievous bodily harm” includes any permanent or serious disfigurement.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Choosing the right legal team to defend your reputation and interests can be a difficult process.

However, it is always important to look at a firm’s experience and results when making this decision.

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, we have extensive experience defending and winning some of the most complex traffic matters – so you can rest assured that you are in safe hands.

Our traffic law specialists will take the time in every case to carefully scrutinise all the evidence in order to identify problems with the prosecution case at an early stage in the proceedings.

Where issues are found, our lawyers will write to the prosecution asking to have the charges dropped on this basis – often sparing our clients the considerable time and expense associated with defended hearings.

However, should your matter proceed to court, our senior lawyers will represent you and present a strong defence case to maximise your chances of being found ‘not guilty.’

Our senior lawyers are highly skilled advocates who have been recognised for their expert knowledge of the traffic law, as well as their ability to obtain excellent results in difficult cases.

We can assist you in avoiding the harsh penalties imposed by the law if you simply wish to plead guilty – in these cases, our experienced advocates can prepare and present compelling sentencing submissions which focus on any positive factors of your case.

For the best defence in your case, get the experts on your side today. Call us now on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with our traffic law specialists.


Recent Cases

Our client is a 51 year old owner of a security company who lives in South-West Sydney.

He was turning right at an intersection when his car collided with an oncoming car driven by a 20-year old P-plater.

Police attended the scene, determined that our client was at-fault and later issued him with a future court attendance notice for negligent driving not occasioning death or grievous bodily harm.

He self-represented him Bankstown Local Court, where he was found guilty on the basis that he failed to keep a proper lookout for the oncoming vehicle, fined $1,500 and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

He then saw us for advice and, after taking detailed instructions, it became evident there was a reasonable possibility the magistrate had made an error by finding him guilty.

We then filed an ‘all grounds appeal’ and obtained the transcript of evidence, which supported a reasonable inference that the oncoming vehicle was speeding and that our client was indeed keeping a lookout but could not have avoided the collision.

The appeal ultimately came before Parramatta District Court where we tendered detailed written submissions outlining the law and the fact that the evidence did not support a finding of guilt, especially given the absence of a prosecution expert and the conflicting evidence.

After making additional submissions, His Honour agreed that the prosecution did not prove its case to the required standard. He therefore upheld the appeal and quashed the conviction, fine and disqualification.

Our client is a constable in the NSW Police Force.

On a Thursday night, the complainant was ejected by security officers from a hotel in Lidcombe due to his level of intoxication.

Our client and another police officer attended the hotel and gave the complainant a ‘move on direction’, requiring him to leave the vicinity of the premises.

The intoxicated man initially refused to leave, but eventually agreed to a lift from police to his nearby home.

After being dropped off, the drunk man returned to the hotel in breach of the move on direction.

Our client and his partner were once again called to the hotel, and ultimately arrested and placed the man in the back of their police van.

Our client then drove the vehicle along a major road to the local police station.

After receiving a report from our client’s partner officer, police commenced an investigation and approximately 18 months later, charged our client with ‘drive motor vehicle furiously and cause bodily harm’ under section 53 of the Crimes Act, as well as the offences of ‘reckless driving’ and ‘negligent driving’ under the Road Transport Act.

The prosecution alleged that our client drove “furiously and dangerously” during the trip to the police station, intentionally speeding to over 100 km/h and twice coming to a rapid stop, which caused the complainant to hit his head on the side of the van causing a gash.

Our client was suspended from employment pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

He maintained his innocence throughout the course of the case, vehemently denying that he drove in the manner alleged.

He instructed that his colleague had an ulterior motive and had fabricated the allegations. According to our client, he had been privy to certain misconduct by his colleague and intended to make a formal complaint.

He further instructed that the intoxicated man had been violent and aggressive throughout the course of the night and had likely sustained the injury as a result.

As part of its case, the prosecution presented statements by the attending officer (who made the initial report), the intoxicated man (who initially refused to give a statement and only did so at a later stage after being ‘spoken to’ by police), as well as a number of senior officers including an Inspector who was tasked with conducting the investigation.

The material appeared on first glance to support the prosecution case.

However, upon obtaining data from the police van’s computer and GPS tracking data, it became evident that the van had not been driven as alleged, and that the colleague had therefore been untruthful.

We systematically dismantled the prosecution case during extensive cross-examination of the attending officer and complainant during the defended hearing in Burwood Local court using our instructions regarding the pending complaint and computer data.

The presiding magistrate ultimately found our client not guilty of all 3 charges, noting that the evidence of the partner officer and complainant were “unreliable”.

Our client is expected to make a prompt return to the police force.

Our client is a dentist in rural NSW.

She is often required to attend several clinics in different areas on any one day.

She was rushing from one clinic to another at 150kp/h when police activated their lights and siren to pull her over. She panicked and accelerated to 216kp/h, leading police on a 3 kilometre pursuit, before pulling over.

She admitted knowing police were behind her and accelerating away, and was charged with ‘police pursuit’, ‘drive recklessly/manner dangerous’ and ‘speed by more than 45kp/h’.

Our defence team had the reckless driving and speeding charges withdrawn, and our client pleaded guilty to a single count of ‘police pursuit’. We also had the police ‘facts’ significantly amended, including the deletion of any reference to her weaving around other cars.

Her matter was then adjourned for a sentencing hearing. In preparation for the sentencing, our lawyers engaged a psychologist to prepare a report which explained the enormous stress our client was under in the weeks preceding the incident, and on the morning very morning it occurred. It also detailed her shame and remorse for having committed the offence, and the fact her actions were impulsive and committed out of panic.

We also assisted her in obtaining references and letters attesting to her invaluable contributions to local rural communities, including work she had undertaken free-of-charge for those who could not afford her services, and the enormous impact that a loss of licence would have on her and the communities she services.

Lengthy submissions were made in court relating to those and other matters, which ultimately convinced the magistrate to order a section 10(1)(b) bond in her favour – which means she has no criminal record and keeps her licence. This is despite a number of speeding and other matters being recorded on her driving history.

The case is the only recorded section 10 for a ‘Skye’s law’ matter in NSW.

Our client is able to remain conviction-free and continue to service regional communities in NSW.

Our client was charged with Negligent Driving Occasioning Death after being involved in a high-speed, head-on collision with another car on a country highway.

Eyewitnesses made statements to the effect that our client had been driving perfectly in the lead up to the accident, before veering in a straight line onto the wrong side of the road.

An oncoming car was unable to swerve out of the way in time, and the driver tragically sustained critical injuries as a result of the crash.

Our client spent considerable sums of money on other lawyers who each neglected to advise her of any available defence despite the fact that she failed to recollect the period immediately prior to veering onto the wrong side of the road. They each advised her to plead guilty.

To us, it was immediately obvious that she may have fallen asleep – which is a defence to charges of negligent driving, reckless driving and dangerous driving in light of the decision in Jiminez, provided that the defendant had no reason to believe he or she would fall asleep.

We referred her to a sleep clinic, where a specialist indeed diagnosed her with obstructive sleep apnoea. This previously undiagnosed condition meant that she had a higher chance of suddenly and uncontrollably falling asleep without warning. We obtained a report to the effect that there was a possibility she had fallen asleep before the collision, despite not feeling tired.

The matter proceeded to a two-day defended hearing in Young Local Court, where our client was found not guilty.

A Jury in Downing Centre District Court found our 22 year old client 'not guilty' of all charges after a hard-fought two week trial involving extensive expert evidence.

Our client faced charges of Aggravated Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death, Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death, Negligent Driving Occasioning Death and Police Pursuit ('Skye's Law').

The charges arose from an incident on 19th February 2011 when our client and another young man were travelling on a motorcycle owned by our client at detected speeds of more than 120km/h in a 50km/h zone on River Road, Greenwich NSW.

They travelled past a stationary roadside RBT and police began a pursuit.

Their motorcycle lost control and crashed, tragically causing the young man's death.

The prosecution alleged that our client was the rider and the deceased was the passenger.

They relied upon the police in-car footage, eye-witness testimony and expert pharmacological and accident reconstruction evidence.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® engaged experts to contradict that evidence and succeeded in having parts of the prosecution material excluded.

The jury unanimously found our client not guilty of all charges.

Police withdrew proceedings for 'negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm' against our 17 year old client from Collaroy after Sydney Criminal Lawyers® argued that the charge could not be sustained.

The case involved our client, who was on her L Plates, allegedly failing to give way to a motorbike rider at a roundabout and causing a collision, resulting in the rider sustaining a fractured leg and various other injuries.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® argued that the evidence suggested the rider may have been travelling at excessive speed and thereby contributed to the collision.

Our client gets to keep her licence and remains conviction-free.

In Downing Centre Court, Sydney Criminal Lawyers® obtained a 'Section 10' (no conviction or loss of licence) for a 30 year old truck driver who drove negligently causing serious injuries to several cyclists, including brain damage and numerous broken bones requiring permanent insertion of metal plates.

It is an excellent result considering our client has 31 previous speeding offences and lost his licence for 12 months in 2006.

He can now keep his licence and his job.

The Magistrate in Penrith Local Court found our 52 year old client 'not guilty' of 'negligent driving' after finding that the alleged 'victim' may have caused the accident in question.

Our client's previous lawyer advised him that his chances of winning the case were 'zero' if he did not obtain an 'accident reconstruction report', which would have cost him $5,500.00.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® won the case without any report which was completely unnecessary.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® obtained a 'Section 10' (no conviction or disqualification) in Fairfield Local Court for a 26 year old Bonnyrigg man who pleaded guilty to 'drive whilst suspended'.

Our client was very pleased considering that he had accumulated over 40 demerit point during his relatively-short driving career and was previously convicted and sentenced to 18 months periodic detention for 'drive recklessly / furiously / in manner / at speed dangerous'.

A 42 year old bus driver was found 'not guilty' of 'negligent driving' after his bus collided with a pedestrian who carelessly crossed a busy bondi intersection.

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