News & opinion What is Reckless Driving?

What is Reckless Driving?

What is Reckless Driving?

It’s

ch

llenge to feel s

fe behind the

heel

hen you she the

o

d

ith so m

ny b

d d

ive

s. M

ny d

ive

s out on ou

n

tion’s

o

ds opete vehicles negligently. They m

y speed th

ough

ed lights o

d

ive unde

the influence of

lcohol

nd d

ugs. If you’

e in

n

dj

cent l

ne, b

d d

ive

s m

y csh into you

c

. These

ctions m

y seem inexcus

ble to

s

fety-conscious d

ive

, but they th

t doesn’t me

n th

t they necess

ily meet the leg

l definition of

eckless d

iving.   ong>

eckless d

ive

s <

st

ong>e in

n ext

eme c

tego

y

ll on thei

o

n. They m

nifest the

o

st of the

o

st d

iving h

bits,

nd thei

ctions su

p

ss t

dition

l ide

s of negligence.

eckless d

ive

s often c

use extensive d

m

ge

nd c

t

st

ophic inju

ies.

hen

c

imin

l cou

t convicts them of

c

ime fo

thei

b

d beh

vio

, it’s hd to feel soy fo

them, bec

use you kno

they likely dese

ve it.  

hen

eckless d

ive

inju

es you, <

h

ef="https:

/c

inju

yvictims.com

se

vices

c

ccident-

tto

ney-houston

“>spe

king

ith

lye

> fo conviction should e

se the d

m

ge

ecove

y p

ocess, but it doesn’t

l

ys

o

k out th

t y. It’s

n unf

i

consequence, but the othe

guy’s

eckless d

iving conviction c

n c

e

te p

oblems fo

both of you.

c

imin

l conviction is one su

e

y to keep

t

uly b

d d

ive

off the

o

d—

t le

st tempo

ily. Unfo

tun

tely, it could

lso c

use li

bility covege issues th

t complic

te you

d

m

ge

ecove

y.

 

eckless D

iving: You

ecognize It

hen You See It

hen

d

ive

c

eens th

ough

n inte

section

ithout slo

ing do

n,

ms you

c,

nd c

shes into

pole, you p

ob

bly h

ve no doubt in you

mind th

t he’s d

iving

ecklessly. If you’

e se

iously inju

ed du

ing the imp

ct, you don’t ce if the othe

guy

s

eckless, distcted,

gg

essive, out of cont

ol, o

simply negligent. You just nt him to p

y fo

the d

m

ges he c

used.

 

Most studies h

ve concluded th

t men

e mo

e likely th

n

omen to d

ive

ecklessly.

hen the<

h

ef=”https://

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efee

“> Insu

nce Institute of High

y S

fety<>

n

lyzed U.S. Deptment of Tnspo

t

tion

ccident d

t

, it concluded th

t men d

ive mo

e miles, pctice mo

e

isky d

iving beh

vio

s,

nd die in

uto c

shes mo

e f

equently th

n

omen.

 

B

d d

ive

s h

bitu

lly d

ive c

elessly

nd

gg

essively. They often commit

h

t the N

tion

l Highy Tffic S

fety

dministtion c

lls <

h

ef=”https://

.nhts

.gov/

isky-d

iving” t

get=”_bl

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el=”noopene

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efe

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">

isky d

iving<> beh

vio

s. It’s the

dded element of intention

lity th

t t

nsfo

ms

d

ive

’s b

d

ctions into

eckless d

iving

nd c

imin

l beh

vio

.

hen

l enfo

cement office

cites someone foeckless d

iving, the office

usu

lly h

s evidence th

t the d

ive

eng

ged in one o

mo

e of the follo

ing beh

vio

s:

  • D
    iving unde

    the influence of d

    ugs olcohol<

    li>

  • Dist

    cted d

    iving (texting, t

    lking, e

    ting, putting on m

    keup, etc.)

  • Speeding
  • D
    iving in the ong di

    ection

  • D
    iving

    gg

    essively<

    li>

  • unning ed light<

    li>

  • F
    ilu

    e to stop

    t

    stop sign

  • D

    g

    cing in the st

    eet<

    li>

  • Igno
    ing

    stopped school bus

 

These

nd othections viol

te loc

l

nd st

te moto

vehicle st

tutes.

cou

t might

lso conside

them negligent, but

l

enfo

cement office

must decide

t the

ccident scene if the

ctions constitute negligence. Despite his studied opinion,

police office

c

n’t gu

ntee th

t

cou

t

ill convict

d

ive

of

eckless opetion. L enfo

cement offici

ls genelly covell contingencies by citing

d

iveith one o

mo

e of the

bove t

ffic viol

tions

nd

lso citing him o

he

fo

eckless d

iving c

ime.

 

Yes,

eckless D

iving Is

C

ime

eckless opetion is b

d d

iving, but it’s

lso

c

imin

l offense. To dete

mine if

d

ive

h

s committed

c

ime,

l enfo

cement office

must ex

mine the

ccident scene, listen to the d

ive

s’ ve

sions, inte

vieitnesses,

nd m

ke

judgment c

ll.

s

ith

ny c

ime, the cou

t m

kes the fin

l decision b

sed on st

te st

tutes

nd

v

il

ble evidence. Beloe p

ovide mo

e specific

eg

ding

eckless d

iving in Louisi

n

, Tex

s,

nd C

lifo

ni

:
  • ong>Louisi

    n

    ong>: Unde

    <

    h

    ef=”http://

    .legis.l

    .gov/legis/L

    .

    spx?d=78753" tget="_bl

    nk”

    el="noopene

    no

    efee

    “>Lousi

    n

    l

    >, the “

    eckless Ope

    tion of

    Vehicle” is

    c

    imin

    l offense.

    conviction

    equi

    es th

    t

    cou

    t find

    d

    ive

    guilty of opeting

    vehicle in “

    c

    imin

    lly negligent oeckless m

    nne

    .” The punishment fo

    conviction m

    y include

    fine up to $200, imp

    isonment fo

    up to 90 d

    ys, o

    both.

  • ong>Tex

    s ong>: Unde

    <

    h

    ef=”https://st

    tutes.c

    pitol.tex

    s.gov

    Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm” t

    get=”_bl

    nk"

    el=”noopene

    no

    efe

    e

    ">Tex

    s l

    >, eckless d

    ive

    is

    d

    iveho opetes

    vehicle “in

    illful o

    nton dis

    egd fo

    the s

    fety of pe

    sons o

    p

    ope

    ty.”

    pe

    son is subject to eckless opetion chge

    hile d

    iving on public

    o

    ds

    nd high

    ys

    nd

    lso in

    p

    iv

    te

    ccess

    y o

    pking e

    . Punishments include

    fine up to $200, confinement fo

    up to 30 d

    ys, o

    both.

  • ong>C

    lifo

    ni

    ong>: In the <

    h

    ef="https:

    /leginfo.legisl

    tu

    e.c

    .gov

    f

    ces

    codes_displ

    ySection.xhtml?lCode=VEH&

    mp;sectionNum=23103.” t

    get=”_bl

    nk"

    el=”noopene

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    efe

    e

    ">Golden St

    te >, the l defines eckless d

    ive

    s “

    pe

    son

    ho d

    ives

    vehicle upon

    high

    y in

    illful o

    nton dis

    egd fo

    the s

    fety of pe

    sons o

    p

    ope

    ty.” Those convicted of the c

    ime c

    n f

    ce 90 d

    ys in j

    il

    nd fines of $1,000.<

    li>

 

Bec

use of the intention

l component of the c

ime, eckless opetion chge is often difficult to p

osecute. The p

osecution must p

ove the d

ive

’s st

te of mind

t the time of the

ccident,

hich

equi

es p

oducing me

ningful evidence o

getting into the offending d

ive

’s he

d enough to encou

ge

confession.

conviction is

lso subject to

c

imin

l defense

tto

ney’s

illingness to dispute his client’s guilt.

defense

tto

ney m

y

lso

ttempt to ple

do

n eckless d

iving ch

ge to

non-c

imin

l tffic chge.  

ecove

ble D

m

ges

hen eckless d

ive

’s insu

e

decides to settle, the insu

ed’s design

tion

s

eckless ope

to

m

y help f

st-tck you

cl

im o

l

suit. Insu

nce comp

nies t

y to

void cou

t

oom scenes th

t might

eve

l thei

insu

ed’s ho

id d

iving beh

vio

in cou

t,

hich m

y le

d to

high-doll

judgment

nd excess li

bility exposu

e. To p

event this, insu

nce comp

nies

ill coope

te to settle out of cou

t. Th

t c

n me

n minim

l li

bility discussions, e

sie

negoti

tions,

nd highe

settlements.  

Economic

nd Non-Economic D

m

ges

Inju

y settlements customily include

doll

mount to

eimbu

se you

medic

l bills, thepy costs, lost ges,

nd othe

c

lcul

ble d

m

ges incued due to

n

ccident.

hile these

e often e

sily p

ov

ble b

sed on

eceipts, bills,

nd employe

document

tion, non-economic d

m

ges p

esent

ch

llenge.

pl

intiff must p

ove p

in

nd suffe

ing, loss of conso

tium,

nd othe

v

gue d

m

ges b

sed on emotion

l

nd psychologic

l issues expe

ienced

s esult of the

ccident.

 

Punitive o

Exemply D

m

ges<

h3>
Cou

ts d punitive d

m

ges

hen

defend

nt

cts in

m

nneo

thy of punishment.

hile the st

nd

d of p

oof vies f

om st

te to st

te, the d

nge

ous d

iving beh

vio

equi

ed fo

eckless d

iving conviction helps

pl

intiff p

esent

f

vo

ble c

se.

cou

t convicts

d

ive

of

eckless d

iving bec

use of c

imin

lly negligent beh

vio

oillful

nd

nton dis

egd fo

s

fety. C

imin

l

nd civil c

ses h

ve diffe

ent st

nd

ds of p

oof, but if the evidence suppo

ts

conviction in c

imin

l cou

t, it

ill likely help suppo

t

cl

im fo

punitive o

exempl

y d

m

ges in

civil c

se.

 

eckless D

ive

M

y

ttempt to S

bot

ge You

Li

bility Cl

im<

h2>
If

cou

t convicts

esponsible p

ty of

eckless d

iving, his o

he

conviction c

n m

ke it mo

e difficult fo

you to

ecove

d

m

ges f

om the li

bility c

ie

. P

oving f

ult to the insu

nce comp

ny is often the simplest pt of the p

ocess. It’s the cove

ge issues th

t m

y complic

te the p

ocess.

 

Intention

l

ct Exclusions

hen eckless d

ive

cshes into you

c

, the c

imin

l ch

ges often t

ke cente

st

ge. If you don’t m

ke it cle

th

t youccident

lso involved negligence issues, the d

ive

’s c

imes c

n

ffect you

potenti

l fo

d

m

ge

ecove

y.

 

uto policies usu

lly exclude bodily inju

y

nd p

ope

ty d

m

ge

hen c

used intention

lly.

hile the d

m

ges

eckless d

ive

c

uses e often

ccident

l, the initi

ting f

cto

s

e sometimes intention

l.

hen

pe

son is d

iving unde

the influence, speeding, d

g

cing, o

committing some othe

d

nge

ous

ct,

n

ccident is e

son

ble, if not

n expected, outcome. Th

t expect

tion is one of the f

cto

s th

t m

kes

eckless d

iving

c

ime

s

ell

s

n intention

l

ct.

 

Insu

nce comp

nies ite li

bility policies

ith exclusions th

t b

the h

zds th

t they neve

nted to cove

in the fi

st pl

ce. Some pe

son

l

uto policies exclude covege fo

specific

lly desc

ibed d

nge

ous

ctivities, such

s

cing, stunts, o

othe

exhibitions,

hethe

pl

nned o

info

m

l.

uto policies

lso exclude d

m

ges o

inju

ies c

used by

n intention

l

ct.

hen you p

esent

li

bility cl

im, it’s impo

t

nt to do

npl

y the intention

l

cts

nd focus on the negligence

lleg

tions. Othe

ise, the li

bility insunce comp

ny might deny you

cl

im.

 

Cove

ge fo

Punitive o

Exempl

y D

m

ges

If you p

ove th

t

d

ive

cted

illfully o

ntonly o

in

c

imin

lly negligent o

eckless m

nne

, you m

y meet the st

nd

ds fo

punitive d

m

ge

d. Punitive d

m

ge

ds

e often difficult to collect

hen the insunce comp

ny denies cove

ge o

the

esponsible p

ty h

s limited fin

nci

l

esou

ces.   Some st

tes conside

it

g

inst public policy fon insu

e

to

ssume

esponsibility fo

p

ying

n

d me

nt to punish

li

ble pty. Unde

ce

t

in situ

tions in Louisi

n

, it’s not

g

inst public policy fon insu

e

to p

y punitive o

exemply d

m

ges. The insunce comp

ny still h

s the

ight to deny p

yment if the policy l

ngu

ge excludes such.   In othe

inst

nces,

li

bility insu

e

m

y t

ke the position th

t punitive d

m

ges simply

en’t cove

ed by

n

uto policy. ecent

uling on the issue c

me befo

e the Tex

s Cou

t of

ppe

ls in the c

se, <

h

ef="https:

/schol

.google.com/schol

_c

se?c

se=6166902460708473548&

mp;q=Fme

s+Tex

s+County+Mutu

l+Insu

nce+Comp

ny+v.+Zunig

&

mp;hl=en&

mp;

s_sdt=6,36&

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s_vis=1" tget="_bl

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el="noopene

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efee

“>F

me

s Tex

s County Mutu

l Insunce Comp

ny v. Jennife

Zunig

>. The b

ckg

ound

nd issues

e complic

ted, but the impo

t

nt pt is th

t the cou

t dete

mined th

t punitive d

m

ges e neithe

bodily inju

y no

p

ope

ty d

m

ge,

nd the

efo

e not cove

ed by

n

uto policy.

 

Lo

Li

bility Cove

ge Limits

If

eckless d

ive

’s insu

eg

ees to p

y you

cl

im, you might find out th

t his o

he

policy limits

e too lo

to cove

you

d

m

ges. The <

h

ef="https:

/

-fs.nhts

.dot.gov/People/PeopleD

ive

s.

spx" tget="_bl

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el="noopene

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efee

“>US DOT F

S D

t

t

bles<> p

ovide

simple tion

le fo

this covege issue. Lo

policy limits

e often one of the consequences

hen

d

ive

h

s

consistently b

d d

iving histo

y. M

ny d

ive

s involved in f

t

l

ccidents h

ve p

evious convictions fo

moto

vehicle cshes, speeding, DUI, license suspensions,

nd

evoc

tions.

 

T

dition

l comp

nies

on’t insu

e

d

ive

hen they h

ve

b

d d

iving histo

y

ith multiple cit

tions

nd convictions. If they do, they ch

ge highe

p

emiums

nd

dd on

su

ch

ge th

t m

kes the p

emiums even highe

. High-

isk d

ive

s c

n

ely

ffo

d tdition

l insu

nce policies.

cco

dingly, such d

ive

s

o

k to meet st

te fin

nci

l

esponsibility

equi

ements by pu

ch

sing lo

e

-cost policies

ith st

te minimum li

bility limits.
  • In Louisi

    n

    ,

    d

    ive

    must h

    ve <

    h

    ef="https:

    /

    .ldi.l

    .gov/docs/def

    ult-sou

    ce/documents/public

    ff

    i

    s

    consume

    public

    tions/consume

    's-guide-to-

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    el="noopene

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    efee

    “>15/30/25 > limits: $15,000 in bodily inju

    y cove

    ge pe

    pe

    son

    nd $30,000 peccident,

    nd $25,000 in p

    ope

    ty d

    m

    ge li

    bility covege.<

    li>

  • In Tex
    s, the limits e<

    h

    ef="https:

    /

    .tdi.tex

    s.gov/pubs/consume

    cb020.html” t

    get=”_bl

    nk"

    el=”noopene

    no

    efe

    e

    "> 30

    60/25 >.

    d

    ive

    must h

    ve

    $30,000 pe

    pe

    son bodily inju

    y limit

    nd $60,000 pe

    ccident,

    nd $25,000 in p

    ope

    ty d

    m

    ge li

    bility cove

    ge.

  • <
    h

    ef=”https://

    .geico.com

    info

    m

    tion/st

    tes

    c

    ” t

    get=”_bl

    nk"

    el=”noopene

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    efe

    e

    ">C

    lifo

    ni

    >

    equi

    es $15,000 pe

    pe

    son, $30,000 peccident,

    nd $5,000 fo

    p

    ope

    ty d

    m

    ge.<

    li>

 

h

t H

ppens

hen

eckless D

ive

H

s No Insunce?<

h2>

ll st

tes, except Ne

H

mpshi

e,

equi

e licensed d

ive

s

nd vehicle o

ne

s to m

int

in li

bility insunce. Despite st

ingent st

te fin

nci

l

esponsibility st

tutes

nd stiff pen

lties fo

non-compli

nce, some people still d

ive

ithout insunce. This dyn

mic often h

ppens

hen

d

ive

is uninsuble th

ough t

dition

l ch

nnels. Sometimes

d

ive

o

vehicle o

ne

c

n’t

ffo

d covege due to

spotty d

iving histo

y o

p

evious

ccident.

 

If you’

e inju

ed by

n uninsu

ed o

unde

insu

ed

eckless d

ive

, you still h

ve

ecove

y options. if you h

ve Uninsu

ed Moto

ist (UM) o

Unde

insu

ed Moto

ist (UIM) cove

ge, you

insunce c

ie

p

ys the d

m

ges you

ould h

ve

ecove

ed f

om the

eckless d

ive

’s insu

nce c

ie

. UIM p

ys the diffe

ence in d

m

ges

hen esponsible pty h

s insu

nce but not enough to cove

you

inju

y cl

im.

 

UM cove

ge comes into pl

y in the follo

ing ci

cumst

nces:

  • You

    e inju

    ed by

    d

    iveho h

    s no li

    bility insunce

    t the time of the

    ccident.<

    li>

  • The d
    ive

    o

    o

    ne

    h

    s

    policy, but the insunce comp

    ny declines cove

    ge.

  • The d
    ive

    c

    uses d

    m

    ges due to

    di

    ect cont

    ct

    ccident, le

    ves the scene,

    nd

    em

    ins unidentifi

    ble.

 

hen you submit

UM o

UIM cl

im, it’s impo

t

nt to

emembe

th

t you

insu

nce c

ie

is

ssuming the

ole of the li

bility c

ie

. You

policy might exclude d

m

ges c

used by intention

l

cts.  

You

Insu

nce C

ie

Might Igno

e the Conflict of Inte

ests

hen you h

ve UM o

UIM covege, you

insu

nce c

iessumes the

ole of the

esponsible d

ive

’s li

bility insu

nce comp

ny. Theo

etic

lly, you

insu

nce comp

ny

ep

esents both you

nd the othe

d

ive

. This ngement often p

esents

conflict of inte

ests.

 

You

comp

ny’s cl

im deptment investig

tes the

ccident to dete

mine li

bility. It

ill ev

lu

te you

inju

y

nd negoti

te

settlement b

sed on the d

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