I rise to speak on clause 30 somewhat ruefully. You missed an interesting debate this morning, Sir Nicholas. I will not repeat what was said, but we proposed new clauses that would have set a cascading scale, with reckless driving being driving that fell “far below” what would be expected of a competent driver and dangerous driving being “significantly” below that. We felt that that was in tune with clause 30, which we had not reached at that point. It suggests that a simple definition of “careless, or inconsiderate, driving” be set in statute, which is driving that falls below what would be expected of
“a competent and careful driver”.
We thought that our new clauses would set a wholly logical new framework of law of which the new definition in clause 30 formed an integral part. It is somewhat ruefully, therefore, that we support clause 30 as it stands.
Only to say that I mentioned in this morning’s debate that we had carried out a thorough consultation on the offences that we are discussing. The consultation suggested that although we had an adequate statutory definition of dangerous driving, which is that it falls far below the standard normally accepted, there ought to be a further definition in statute of what careless driving constitutes. That is why we have tabled the clause. Far from being in any way contradictory to the comments that I made in this morning’s debate, it is this clause that makes sense of those comments. It explains why we do not need the more graduated definitions of dangerous, reckless and the other standards of driving proposed by the hon. Member for North Shropshire.