Reckless driving
Overview
 
Reckless driving is a major moving traffic violation
Moving violation
A moving violation is any violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term "motion" distinguishes it from other violations such as parking violations, equipment violations, or paperwork violations relating to insurance, registration, inspection, etc.-...

. As a legal term, it is used within the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. This offence has been abolished in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and replaced. It may be known as dangerous driving in places other than the United Kingdom (where it was a subset of the wider offence of dangerous driving
Dangerous driving
Dangerous driving is a statutory offence in England and Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is also a term of art used in the definition of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving...

).

It is usually a more serious offense
Offense (law)
In law, an offence is a violation of the criminal law .In England and Wales, as well as in Hong Kong the term "offence" means the same thing as, and is interchangeable with, the term "crime"....

 than careless driving, improper driving, or driving without due care and attention
Driving without due care and attention
Driving without due care and attention or careless driving is a moving traffic violation. As a legal term, it is used within the United States and the United Kingdom. It is usually a less serious offence than reckless driving in the United States, and is a less serious offence than dangerous...

 and is often punishable by fines, imprisonment
Imprisonment
Imprisonment is a legal term.The book Termes de la Ley contains the following definition:This passage was approved by Atkin and Duke LJJ in Meering v Grahame White Aviation Co....

, and/or driver's license
Driver's license
A driver's license/licence , or driving licence is an official document which states that a person may operate a motorized vehicle, such as a motorcycle, car, truck or a bus, on a public roadway. Most U.S...

 suspension or revocation.
In the United Kingdom it was a more serious offence than dangerous driving.

Reckless driving is often defined as a mental state in which the driver displays a wanton disregard for the rules of the road; the driver often misjudges common driving procedures, often causing accidents and other damages.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Reckless driving is a major moving traffic violation
Moving violation
A moving violation is any violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term "motion" distinguishes it from other violations such as parking violations, equipment violations, or paperwork violations relating to insurance, registration, inspection, etc.-...

. As a legal term, it is used within the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. This offence has been abolished in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and replaced. It may be known as dangerous driving in places other than the United Kingdom (where it was a subset of the wider offence of dangerous driving
Dangerous driving
Dangerous driving is a statutory offence in England and Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is also a term of art used in the definition of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving...

).

It is usually a more serious offense
Offense (law)
In law, an offence is a violation of the criminal law .In England and Wales, as well as in Hong Kong the term "offence" means the same thing as, and is interchangeable with, the term "crime"....

 than careless driving, improper driving, or driving without due care and attention
Driving without due care and attention
Driving without due care and attention or careless driving is a moving traffic violation. As a legal term, it is used within the United States and the United Kingdom. It is usually a less serious offence than reckless driving in the United States, and is a less serious offence than dangerous...

 and is often punishable by fines, imprisonment
Imprisonment
Imprisonment is a legal term.The book Termes de la Ley contains the following definition:This passage was approved by Atkin and Duke LJJ in Meering v Grahame White Aviation Co....

, and/or driver's license
Driver's license
A driver's license/licence , or driving licence is an official document which states that a person may operate a motorized vehicle, such as a motorcycle, car, truck or a bus, on a public roadway. Most U.S...

 suspension or revocation.
In the United Kingdom it was a more serious offence than dangerous driving.

Reckless driving is often defined as a mental state in which the driver displays a wanton disregard for the rules of the road; the driver often misjudges common driving procedures, often causing accidents and other damages. Reckless driving has been studied by psychologists . However, no one cause can be assigned to this state. There are some states, such as Virginia, where mental state is not considered, but rather a set of specific violations can be deemed reckless. Excessive speed by itself is sufficient for a reckless driving conviction in some jurisdictions (e.g., Virginia).

Effects

Reckless driving often results in not only the damage of property, but also the injury of animate entities - notably humans, but more commonly cats
Felidae
Felidae is the biological family of the cats; a member of this family is called a felid. Felids are the strictest carnivores of the thirteen terrestrial families in the order Carnivora, although the three families of marine mammals comprising the superfamily pinnipedia are as carnivorous as the...

 and dogs
Canidae
Canidae is the biological family of carnivorous and omnivorous mammals that includes wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, and domestic dogs. A member of this family is called a canid . The Canidae family is divided into two tribes: Canini and Vulpini...

 .

Alabama

Code of Alabama 1975, Title 32 (Motor Vehicles and Traffic), Section 32-5A-190 (Reckless driving):
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving.
(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment for a period of not less than five days nor more than 90 days, or by fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $500.00, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and on a second or subsequent conviction shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 10 days nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and the court may prohibit the person so convicted from driving a motor vehicle on the public highways of this state for a period not exceeding six months, and the license of the person shall be suspended for such period by the Director of Public Safety pursuant to Section 32-5A-195.
(c) Neither reckless driving nor any other moving violation under this chapter is a lesser included offense under a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §9-101.) http://www.legislature.state.al.us/CodeofAlabama/1975/coatoc.htm

Alaska

Alaska Statutes, Title 28 (Motor Vehicles), Chapter 35 (Offenses and Accidents), Section 40. (Reckless Driving)
(a) A person who drives a motor vehicle in the state in a manner that creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to a person or to property is guilty of reckless driving. A substantial and unjustifiable risk is a risk of such a nature and degree that the conscious disregard of it or a failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.
(b) A person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year or by both.
(c) Lawfully conducted automobile, snowmobile, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle racing or exhibition events are not subject to the provisions of this section. (AS 28.35.040) http://touchngo.com/lglcntr/akstats/Statutes/Title28/Chapter35/Section040.htm

Arizona

28-693. Reckless driving; classification; license; surrender
A. A person who drives a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
B. A person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.
C. In addition, the judge may require the surrender to a police officer of any driver license of the convicted person, shall report the conviction to the department and may order the driving privileges of the person to be suspended for a period of not more than ninety days. On receipt of the abstract of conviction and order, the department shall suspend the driving privilege of the person for the period of time ordered by the judge.
D. If a person who is convicted of a violation of this section has been previously convicted of a violation of this section, section 13-1102 or section 13-1103, subsection A, paragraph 1, in the driving of a vehicle, or section 28-708, 28-1381, 28-1382 or 28-1383 within a period of twenty-four months:
1. The person is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
2. The person is not eligible for probation, pardon, suspension of sentence or release on any basis until the person has served not less than twenty days in jail.
3. The judge may require the surrender to a police officer of any driver license of the person and shall immediately forward the abstract of conviction to the department.
4. On receipt of the abstract of conviction, the department shall revoke the driving privilege of the person.
E. The dates of the commission of the offense are the determining factor in applying subsection D of this section. A second or subsequent violation for which a conviction occurs as provided in this section does not include a conviction for an offense arising out of the same series of acts.
F. On pronouncement of a jail sentence under this section, and after the court receives confirmation that the person is employed or is a student, the court may provide in the sentence that if the defendant is employed or is a student the defendant can continue employment or schooling for not more than twelve hours per day nor more than five days per week. The defendant shall spend the remaining days or parts of days in jail until the sentence is served and shall be allowed out of jail only long enough to complete the defendant's actual hours of employment or schooling. http://www.azleg.gov/ars/28/00693.htm

Arkansas

Arkansas Code, Title 27 (Transportation), Subtitle 4 (Motor Vehicular Traffic), Chapter 50 (Penalties and Enforcement), Subchapter 3 (Offenses and Penalties Generally)
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b)(1)(A) If physical injury to a person results, every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment for a period of not less than thirty (30) days nor more than ninety (90) days or by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(B) Otherwise, every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment for a period of not less than five (5) days nor more than ninety (90) days or a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(2)(A) For a second or subsequent offense occurring within three (3) years of the first offense, every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(B) However, if the second or subsequent offense involves physical injury to a person, the person convicted shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than sixty (60) days nor more than one (1) year or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment. (AC 27-50-30; Acts 1937, No. 300, § 50; Pope's Dig., § 6708; Acts 1955, No. 186, § 1; A.S.A. 1947, § 75-1003; Acts 1987, No. 258, § 1) http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/NXT/gateway.dll?f=templates&fn=default.htm&vid=blr:code

California

California Vehicle Code§ 23103.5: Wet Reckless or Reckless Driving Involving Alcohol (Priorable as a California DUI)
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b) Any person who drives any vehicle in any off-street parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(c) Persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, except as provided in Section 23104.

Amended Sec. 19, Ch. 739, Stats. 2001. Effective January 1, 2002.
Reckless Driving: Bodily Injury Vehicle Code 23104
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), whenever reckless driving of a vehicle proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver, the person driving the vehicle shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
(b) Any person convicted of reckless driving which proximately causes great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7 of the Penal Code, to any person other than the driver, who previously has been convicted of a violation of Section 23103, 23104, 23109, 23152, or 23153, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Amended Ch. 216, Stats. 1984. Effective January 1, 1985.

Florida

Florida Statutes Section 316.192: Reckless Driving http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0316/SEC192.HTM
(1)(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b) Fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle is reckless driving per se.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), any person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished:
(a) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment for a period of not more than 90 days or by fine of not less than $25 nor more than $500, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(b) On a second or subsequent conviction, by imprisonment for not more than 6 months or by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(3) Any person:
(a) Who is in violation of subsection (1);
(b) Who operates a vehicle; and
(c) Who, by reason of such operation, causes:
1. Damage to the property or person of another commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2. Serious bodily injury to another commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. The term "serious bodily injury" means an injury to another person, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, $5 shall be added to a fine imposed pursuant to this section. The clerk shall remit the $5 to the Department of Revenue for deposit in the Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund.
(5) In addition to any other penalty provided under this section, if the court has reasonable cause to believe that the use of alcohol, chemical substances set forth in s. 877.111, or substances controlled under chapter 893 contributed to a violation of this section, the court shall direct the person so convicted to complete a DUI program substance abuse

Tennessee

Tennessee Code §55-10-205: Reckless driving http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/laws/laws.html
(a) Any person who drives a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property commits reckless driving.
(b) A person commits an offense of reckless driving who drives a motorcycle with the front tire raised off the ground in willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property on any public street, highway, alley, parking lot, or driveway, or on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park, apartment house complex, or any other premises which are generally frequented by the public at large. Provided, the offense of reckless driving for driving a motorcycle with the front tire raised off the ground shall not be applicable to persons riding in a parade, at a speed not to exceed thirty (30) miles per hour, if the person is eighteen (18) years of age or older.
(c) A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor.


Amended July 1, 2007 http://state.tn.us/sos/acts/105/pub/pc0308.pdf

Virginia

The Code of Virginia
Code of Virginia
The Code of Virginia is the statutory law of the U.S. state of Virginia, and consists of the codified legislation of the Virginia General Assembly. The 1950 Code of Virginia is the revision currently in force...

 has over 20 sections pertaining to reckless driving. It is defined as a Class 1 misdemeanor
Misdemeanor
A misdemeanor is a "lesser" criminal act in many common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions and regulatory offences...

 criminal offense, not a traffic infraction or a speeding ticket. For example, Virginia code
Code of Virginia
The Code of Virginia is the statutory law of the U.S. state of Virginia, and consists of the codified legislation of the Virginia General Assembly. The 1950 Code of Virginia is the revision currently in force...

 explicitly defines the act of speeding 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit (or at any speed greater than 80 mph) as reckless driving.

All drivers convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, including out-of-state and foreign (e.g. Canadian) drivers, will have a permanent criminal record
Criminal record
A criminal record is a record of a person's criminal history, generally used by potential employers, lenders etc. to assess his or her trustworthiness. The information included in a criminal record varies between countries and even between jurisdictions within a country...

 that will be indexed in the NCIC criminal database. The conviction will also be added to a Virginia driving record for 11 years, and six demerit points will be applied.

Commonly applied statutes for reckless driving
§ 46.2-852. Reckless driving; general rule. Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.
§ 46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit. A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.
§ 46.2-868. Reckless driving; penalties. —
A. Every person convicted of reckless driving under the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
B. Every person convicted of reckless driving under the provisions of this article who, when he committed the offense, (i) was driving without a valid operator's license due to a suspension or revocation for a moving violation and, (ii) as the sole and proximate result of his reckless driving, caused the death of another, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

List of applicable statutes from the Code of Virginia
Code of Virginia
The Code of Virginia is the statutory law of the U.S. state of Virginia, and consists of the codified legislation of the Virginia General Assembly. The 1950 Code of Virginia is the revision currently in force...

§ 46.2-852. Reckless driving; general rule.
§ 46.2-853. Driving vehicle which is not under control; faulty brakes.
§ 46.2-854. Passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve.
§ 46.2-855. Driving with driver's view obstructed or control impaired.
§ 46.2-856. Passing two vehicles abreast.
§ 46.2-857. Driving two abreast in a single lane.
§ 46.2-858. Passing at a railroad grade crossing.
§ 46.2-859. Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence.
§ 46.2-860. Failing to give proper signals
§ 46.2-861. Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions.
§ 46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit.
§ 46.2-863. Failure to yield right-of-way.
§ 46.2-864. Reckless driving on parking lots, etc.
§ 46.2-865. Racing; penalty.
§ 46.2-865.1. Injuring another or causing the death of another while engaging in a race; penalties.
§ 46.2-866. Racing; aiders or abettors.
§ 46.2-867. Racing; seizure of motor vehicle.
§ 46.2-868. Reckless driving; penalties.
§ 46.2-869. Improper driving; penalty.
§ 46.2-878.1. Maximum speed limits in highway work zones; penalty.
§ 46.2-829. Approach of law-enforcement or fire-fighting vehicles, rescue vehicles, or ambulances; violation as failure to yield right-of-way
§ 46.2-392. Suspension of license or issuance of a restricted license on conviction of reckless or aggressive driving; probationary conditions required; generally.
§ 46.2-393. Suspension of license on conviction of certain reckless offenses; restricted licenses.
§ 46.2-396. Suspension of license for reckless driving resulting in death of any person.

Washington

RCW 46.61.500 Reckless driving - Penalty.
(1) Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Violation of the provisions of this section is a gross misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year and by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.
(2) The license or permit to drive or any nonresident privilege of any person convicted of reckless driving shall be suspended by the department for not less than thirty days.

RCW 46.61.530 Racing of vehicles on highways - Reckless driving - Exception.
No person or persons may race any motor vehicle or motor vehicles upon any public highway of this state. Any person or persons who wilfully compare or contest relative speeds by operation of one or more motor vehicles shall be guilty of racing, which shall constitute reckless driving under RCW 46.61.500, whether or not such speed is in excess of the maximum speed prescribed by law: PROVIDED HOWEVER, That any comparison or contest of the accuracy with which motor vehicles may be operated in terms of relative speeds not in excess of the posted maximum speed does not constitute racing.

West Virginia

§17C-5-3. Reckless driving; penalties.
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle upon any street or highway, or upon any residential street, or in any parking area, or upon the ways of any institution of higher education, whether public or private, or upon the ways of any state institution, or upon the property of any county boards of education, or upon any property within the state park and public recreation system established by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources pursuant to section three, article four, chapter twenty of this code in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to those areas which have been temporarily closed for racing sport events or which may be set aside by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources within the state park and recreation system for exclusive use by motorcycles or other recreational vehicles.
(c) Every person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon a first conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for a period of not less than five days nor more than ninety days, or fined not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or both, and upon conviction of a second or subsequent conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail not less than ten days nor more than six months, or fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or both.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section who in doing so proximately causes another to suffer serious bodily injury shall, upon conviction, be confined in jail not less than ten days nor more than six months or fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or both.
(e) For purposes of subsection (d) of this section, "serious bodily injury" means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, which causes serious or prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

United Kingdom

The offence of reckless driving was created by section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 and then by section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. It was abolished, and replaced with the offence of dangerous driving
Dangerous driving
Dangerous driving is a statutory offence in England and Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is also a term of art used in the definition of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving...

 by section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1991.

After it was substituted by section 50(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
Criminal Law Act 1977
The Criminal Law Act 1977 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Most of it only applies to England and Wales. It is mainly significant because it defines the offence of conspiracy in English law...

, section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 read as follows:
The expression "motor vehicle" was defined by section 190(1), and the expressions "drive" and "road" were defined by section 196(1).

"Recklessly"

The mens rea
Mens rea
Mens rea is Latin for "guilty mind". In criminal law, it is viewed as one of the necessary elements of a crime. The standard common law test of criminal liability is usually expressed in the Latin phrase, actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, which means "the act does not make a person guilty...

 of this offence was considered in R v Lawrence [1982] AC 510, [1981] 2 WLR 524, 73 Cr App R 1, [1981] 1 All ER 974, [1981] RTR 217, [1981] Crim LR 409, HL, reversing 71 Cr App R 291.

Causing death by reckless driving

The offence of causing death by reckless driving was created by section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 and then by section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. It was abolished, and replaced with the offence of causing death by dangerous driving by section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1991.

After it was substituted by section 50(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
Criminal Law Act 1977
The Criminal Law Act 1977 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Most of it only applies to England and Wales. It is mainly significant because it defines the offence of conspiracy in English law...

, section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 read as follows:
A person guilty of this offence was liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years. Guidance as to sentencing was given in R v Boswell 79 Cr App R 277, [1984] 1 WLR 1047, [1984] 3 All ER 353, 6 Cr App R (S) 257, [1984] RTR 315, [1984] Crim LR 502, CA.

External links


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