Reckless driving is a broad category to which a variety of traffic-related offenses belong. There’s a significant difference between careless and reckless driving, though.
It’s critical that you understand what driving behaviors fall under the umbrella of reckless driving and the penalties that you face for engaging in it.
What is reckless driving, and what are the penalties associated with it?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), reckless driving is the operation of a motor vehicle either willfully or with wanton disregard for people and their property. A person generally doesn’t have to cause another’s injuries or property damage to face reckless driving charges.
Some of the following offenses may instead qualify as reckless driving:
- Driving 25 MPH over the posted speed limit
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Evading law enforcement
- Intentionally failing to yield to pedestrians or other motorists
- Texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Street racing other cars
- Crossing double lines on a 2-lane highway
In case you’re wondering if there’s a difference between careless and reckless driving, there is one.
Careless driving may result in fines, points on your driver’s license, and other civil traffic violations. Reckless driving is a criminal offense that may result in your license’s suspension or revocation, up to an 87.5% increase in your auto insurance and prison time.
Commercial motorists stopped on suspicion of reckless driving may face a reduction in their Safety Measurement System (SMS) score and Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) rank. These may impact a commercial operator’s ability to remain operational.
Why you should fight reckless driving charges
Like most motorists, you likely count on your vehicle to get you to where you need to go. The deprivation of your driving privileges could cost you your job, child custody, your ability to remain in school and affect other areas of your life.
You can put up a defense to reckless driving charges just like you can any other criminal ones. The outcome in your case will be largely contingent on how strong of a defense you present in your legal matter.