What is the Difference Between Reckless and Negligent Driving?

Just over half (about 52%) of personal injury cases are a direct result of automobile accidents. In turn, a significant number of auto accidents are caused by negligent driving. Some are also caused by reckless driving, but what exactly are the differences between the two? Let's find out.

What Is Negligent Driving?

Negligence when driving generally means the driver is not taking the necessary, standard precautions required to keep others safe on the road. For instance, a driver can be accused of negligence if they don't use their turn signals or ignore a stop sign.

This can cause car accidents because the person is not following the rules of the road to the best of their ability. The unfortunate news is these types of traffic infractions occur more frequently than you think. Many drivers are guilty of driving as they please without taking care to follow the rules. However, when it comes to bad driving, negligence does not quite reach the level of recklessness.

What Is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is far worse than negligence because it's often deliberate. For instance, a reckless driver can speed dangerously down the road, knowing full well there's the risk someone could get hurt.

They will continue with their risky behavior willfully and intentionally as opposed to negligent drivers who endanger others without the intention to do so. Other examples of reckless driving include driving while under the influence, street racing, running a red light, and talking or texting on the phone while driving.

Main Differences Between Negligent and Reckless Driving

Now that we have explained the differences between these two traffic offenses, let's recap the main differences:

  • Intent. As mentioned, reckless driving is intentional, while negligent driving is accidental. If a person is arrested for bad driving, policy officers will first decide if you knew your actions were risky before charging you. Other factors, such as the severity of the offense and its consequences, will also influence the nature of the charge.
  • In some cases, negligence is viewed as merely a traffic offense, while reckless driving is considered a crime. However, this can vary from state to state. In any case, reckless driving is always a more serious charge that can come with some steep fines and other harsher penalties like jail time.
  • During a personal injury case, it's important to distinguish between negligence and reckless driving. If the court decides to escalate charges from negligence to reckless endangerment, the guilty party could be on the hook for both punitive and compensatory damages.

Do you need help with a personal injury case where negligence or reckless driving is involved? Don't hesitate to get in touch with the best representation you'll find this side of town.

Tags: negligence

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