In King v The Queen, the majority of the High Court held that dangerous driving is not a species of negligent driving and that prior decisions were erroneous. It was held that dangerous driving is based upon the risk of danger posed to other persons and not upon the degree to which the driving falls short of the standard of care owed to the other road users.
The joint judgment stated:
“The ordinary meaning of dangerous is fraught with or causing danger; involving risk; perilous; hazardous; unsafe”. It describes when applied to driving, a manner or speed of driving which gives rise to a risk to others, including motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and the driver’s own passengers. Negligence is not a necessary element of dangerous driving causing death or serious injury. Negligence may and, many if not most cases will, underline dangerous driving. But a person may drive with care and skill and yet drive dangerously. It is not appropriate to treat dangerousness as covering an interval in the range of negligent driving which is of lesser degree than driving which is grossly negligent.”