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Reckless Driving: A Criminal and Civil Legal Issue

Goldstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith Dec. 10, 2021

At some point during your week — or maybe even your day — you will see a driver who operates his or her vehicle in questionable ways. You may notice someone speeding excessively or disregarding traffic signals and immediately think of the danger that person is putting him or herself and others in. Unfortunately, this type of driver is everywhere.

People who drive recklessly may have many excuses for doing so. They may be late for work, feel frustrated by slow-moving traffic or simply enjoy toeing the line of danger. Though speeding up a bit or cutting it close at a red light may help someone get to his or her destination a moment quicker, these actions — and other reckless maneuvers — could also cause a car accident that results in someone going to the hospital instead of an intended location.

Types of Reckless Driving

In most states, including Pennsylvania, laws exist that make reckless driving a punishable offense. The reason for these laws relates to the hope of lessening the likelihood that individuals will participate in such actions, as they pose considerable threat to people on the road. Various behaviors and maneuvers could fall into the category of reckless driving, including:

  • Traveling at high rates of speed

  • Attempting to pass other vehicles in low-visibility areas, such as on hills or in curves

  • Racing on public streets

  • Failing to adhere to traffic signals and safety regulations

  • Trying to elude law enforcement

  • Carrying out acts of road rage, including driving aggressively and blocking other travelers

These examples do not encompass all types of reckless driving, and in many cases, officer discretion may come into play to determine whether someone acted in a reckless manner.

Car Accidents

While a reckless driver could face criminal charges even without causing an accident, the chances remain high that his or her dangerous actions could easily cause a crash. Unfortunately, you may become caught in the path of harm and suffer serious injuries due to someone’s negligent behavior.

If you have found yourself in such a predicament, you may want to consider seeking compensation from the driver considered at fault for the accident. Filing a personal injury claim could assist you in this pursuit, and if successful, you could obtain restitution for medical expenses, lost wages, other monetary damages and pain and suffering. In order to determine your best courses of action, you may wish to have your case evaluated by a legal professional.