Certain terms that fall under the category of Traffic Violations—“reckless driving,” “careless driving,” “aggressive driving,” and “hazardous driving”—are all somewhat similar and many people use the terms interchangeably. Therefore, your first instinct may be to pay the ticket and be done with it. However, there may be much more involved than a simple traffic violation ticket.
First of all, it’s important to know that there is a definite difference between reckless driving and careless driving. Knowing this difference will help you decide how to proceed, how to protect yourself and determine whether you need the assistance of a legal professional or not.
Accused of a Traffic Violation—the Difference between Careless and Reckless Driving
While there are some similarities, “careless driving” and “reckless driving” have different connotations and these can affect everything from what you’re charged with, to increases in insurance premiums, to your sentence if you’re found guilty.
So, how do these two terms differ?
- Careless Driving – Traffic violations that fall under this category are considered hazardous, negligent and unsafe according to CarInsurance.com. When a driver operates their vehicle carelessly, they are driving in such a way that could cause damage to person or property. CarInsurance.com uses running a red light or driving over the speed limit as examples of careless driving. When someone receives a ticket for careless driving, the crime isn’t considered as severe as it would be if they were accused of reckless driving.
- Reckless Driving – Someone accused of reckless driving could be in serious trouble. The biggest difference between the terms “careless” and “reckless” comes from the motive behind the hazardous, negligent or unsafe driving. Someone driving recklessly has the intent to harm person or property, whereas the careless driver does not. The reckless driver is fully aware that they are driving in a hazardous manner but chooses to proceed anyway; there is a “wonton disregard” for the law and for the safety of those around them, according to FindLaw.com. Most states, as well as insurance companies, view reckless driving as a serious traffic violation.
Who Governs Reckless and Careless Driving Laws?
Each state governs the rules of their roads. Therefore, the penalties will differ in each state.
In North Carolina, DMV.com discusses the traffic violation point system that is used by every county. Every traffic violation has its own point value. So, when a person commits a violation, they receive points on their record. As the points add up, a person receives various penalties. They can lose their license, have their license suspended or having the license completely cancelled.
There are also cases in which points don’t need to accumulate before these things can happen. A DWI, passing a school bus, going over 75mph, or racing, will cause a person to lose their license right away.
Reckless Drivers—Get Legal Assistance ASAP
Reckless driving isn’t something to take lightly. If you have been accused of this, contact a lawyer immediately. You will need assistance if you choose to fight the charge. Contact the law office of John C. Fitzpatrick for more information.