When you become of age and have passed your required tests to become a driver, it is expected that each person uses their judgement to decipher if they are in a safe state to drive a vehicle before they step into their car. Depending on different circumstances such as amount of sleep, any alcohol intake, etc. you must assess yourself to see if you can handle the responsibility of operating machinery. Failure to do so could result in careless or reckless driving.
What is Careless Driving?
Careless driving is when you operate a vehicle with ‘careless disregard for the safety of persons or property’. Lack of sleep can result in faulty driving as well as falling asleep at the wheel – both account for careless driving. If you are careless when changing lanes and make any illegal lane changes, this also accounts for careless driving.
Careless driving resulting in an accident will often be considered a summary offense which is considered the most minor criminal offense. These offenses typically result in a fine of no more than $300 and up to 90 days in jail. A careless driving conviction can make your insurance quotes skyrocket and add 6 demerit points on your license. These penalties are put in place to show drivers how irresponsible the act of driving careless is and the effect it can have on others.
How does Careless Driving Differ from Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is all about the driver’s intent. Reckless driving is described as ‘willful disregard for the safety of other people or property’; in other words, the driver had the intention of driving under dangerous circumstances. For example, texting and driving is incredibly dangerous. The driver did not text and drive on accident, they knowingly tried to multitask and unfortunately hit someone or something. That is considered reckless driving.
Think about this – the average time someone takes to read a text message is about 4.6 seconds. If you are driving at 55 mph and you read one text, you’ve driven the length of a football field with your eyes off the road. Imagine how much further you’ve driven if you were driving down the freeway! Many people think they are just taking a quick peek at their phone and it doesn’t take their attention away from driving because the time they glance at their phone is so minor, this is not the case at all.
Reckless driving can be any irresponsible action such as: speeding, passing another car on a blind turn, swerving your vehicle and racing other cars. All of these actions are easily avoidable yet unfortunately happen to do cause accidents due to the driver’s negligence. Often times, if you are charged with reckless driving, it is considered a misdemeanor instead of a traffic violation.
How to Get Help
Unfortunately, reckless and careless drivers are on the road everyday posing a threat to the safety of everyone. Even if you believe you are a defensive driver, there is no way to know if you will be safe from unsafe drivers on the road. If you’ve been involved in an accident where you believe the driver was driving recklessly or carelessly, report it to the police right away. They will document the accident and you can take photos of yourself and your vehicle to provide the police with evidence for the report. Seek any medical attention you need before trying to sort out your claim. Your safety is of utmost importance at this time.
After your medical needs have been tended to and your police report has been documented, contact a trusted car accident attorney to represent your case. Experienced personally injury lawyers will know how to assess if the at-fault driver was being reckless and careless and help you recover damages for all you’ve endured.