What Qualifies as Reckless Driving?

In the State of Florida, the crime of reckless driving occurs when someone drives a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other persons and property (Florida Statute 316.192). If you have been injured in an accident where you suspect the other driver is guilty of reckless driving, you may be wondering: what exactly defines reckless driving? Read on to learn more about which traffic violations are inherently considered “reckless” according to Florida law. 

Speeding

In modern everyday life, there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. In search of lost time, many people resort to speeding. Driving over the speed limit, or speeding is considered reckless because it endangers the lives of all road users. According to the NHTSA, speeding claimed the lives of 9,717 people in 2017. The reason speed limits are put in place is to protect you for this very reason. At the end of the day, driving fast is not driving safe; higher speeds reduce the amount of time you have to react in a dangerous situation.  

Racing

Illegal racing occurs when two or more cars engage in an unofficial competition on public roads and highways. In many cases, people charged with reckless driving for racing will also illegally modify their motor vehicles to increase their speed and acceleration. The issue with unsanctioned racing, however, is that it also increases the chances of losing control of the vehicles involved which threatens the lives of other drivers, pedestrians, and unsuspecting bystanders. 

Improper Passing

Although many drivers on the road seemingly fail to grasp the concept behind a turn signal, there are state laws in place governing when and how you should use them. When you pass a vehicle proceeding in the same direction, you’re supposed to (1) signal your blinker, (2) check your mirrors and blind spot, and (3) wait until there is enough room for you to complete the pass. A charge of reckless driving for improper passing is usually made when a driver makes a pass that leads to the endangerment of other persons and vehicles. Circumstances that warrant a charge include “cutting off” other drivers, passing into an oncoming lane of traffic where the other driver cannot see you (such as on a hill), and passing on the right side of the road. 

Tailgating

If you live in a big city notorious for rush hour traffic, then you probably see people tailgating on an everyday basis. Tailgating occurs when a driver does not leave sufficient room between their vehicle and the driver in front of them, which reduces the time they have to react if the driver in front of them suddenly stops. Research has found that experienced drivers are more likely to cause these kinds of rear-end collisions because they overestimate their skills and do not wait for a safe distance to avoid causing an accident. 

Failure to Yield

When operating a motor vehicle, drivers are required to know the rules of the road including when to yield the right-of-way. In Florida, drivers at an intersection must yield the right-of-way when there is a vehicle already in motion or a vehicle to the right of the driver. Failure to yield is when a person does not stop for a pedestrian or vehicle when they should have. Whether the reason is a lack of consideration or downright negligent driving, those who operate a vehicle and fail to yield are driving recklessly and should be held accountable to their charges. 

Dealing with the consequences of another person’s reckless disregard for you and your safety is never an ideal situation — especially if those consequences leave you dealing with expensive medical bills and lost wages. If you were involved in an accident caused by another driver you suspect of reckless driving, you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney, like the ones you’ll find at Friedland & Associates. No one should have to deal with the consequences of an accident they didn’t cause — fortunately the State of Florida has personal injury laws in place to compensate you for damages.

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