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What is Reckless Driving?

Every driver has (hopefully) learned about the common forms of dangerous driving. Most people do not need to be convinced that drunk driving is a threat to all drivers on the road, and can result in serious injuries and consequences. Thanks to company-endorsed campaigns, texting while driving is now widely recognized as dangerous driving (and in Austin, punishable by law) leading to horrific accidents.

These forms of dangerous driving are clearly defined by their actions. Reckless driving, however, is more ambiguous in its definition, and many drivers are not aware of the actions it encompasses. According to Texas State Law, reckless driving occurs when a "person drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property". In other words, it is an intentional disregard of state traffic laws, personal safety, and the safety of other drivers.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving?

As mentioned above, this form of dangerous driving is nebulous in its interpretation. Here are some of the more common actions that are often perceived as reckless driving:

  • Aggressive driving. Often dubbed as "road rage", this occurs when a driver intentionally bullies his or her way through traffic, often with the intention of "punishing" another driver. Tailgating, cutting off a vehicle, or stopping in the middle of a lane are all forms of aggressive driving.
  • Blatant disregard of traffic laws. This occurs when a driver willfully ignores laws, signs, and warnings while operating a vehicle. Example actions include speeding 10-25 miles over the speed limit, running red lights and stop signs, and failing to properly signal when changing lanes or making a turn.
  • Distracted driving. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving, but other actions (which many drivers do not consider dangerous) fall under this category. Holding a conversation  with passengers, listening to music, operating the vehicle's digital interface, and eating and drinking may all contribute to distracted driving.

Consequences of Reckless Driving

Consequences of reckless driving are often severe and life-changing. Reckless drivers may lose control of their car, hit a pedestrian or biker, or accidentally drive off of the road itself. Additionally, a reckless driver may collide with another vehicle, which can result in property damage and serious personal injury, including spinal cord damage, head and facial injuries, paralysis, and death.

Even if the reckless driver does not cause personal or property damage, he or she may face legal repercussions. According to the Texas State Law, offending drivers can receive a fine not exceeding $200, confinement in country jail for no more than 30 days, or both the fine and confinement.

Have you been a victim of reckless driving? Colley & Colley, a law firm in Tyler Texas, has experienced lawyers who can assess your situation, present your options, and help defend your rights in court. Call an experienced attorney today.