Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer in NYC

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Accidents Caused by Reckless Driving in New York

Every year, thousands of people suffer injuries in traffic accidents. Reckless driving is one of the leading causes of these accidents. A driver who ignores traffic laws and puts the safety of others at risk is labeled a reckless driver.

The Ward Law Group, PL provides experienced reckless driving accident law services in New York. They will help you receive compensation for your losses. Additionally, they will ensure the driver receives a fair penalty to prevent them from endangering others in the future.

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Greg Ward Attorney

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What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is defined by law as “driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Reckless driving is prohibited. Every person violating this provision shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Reckless driving is a risk for everyone who moves around the city, or elsewhere. This includes pedestrians, motorcycle drivers, bicycle riders, and car drivers.

In 2021, speeding killed 12,330 people. It is a form of reckless driving and one of the most common. This makes drivers lose control of their vehicles, creating a hazard on the road.

Drivers may sometimes be under the speed limit due to bad weather, road repair, or lack of light at night. This helps them navigate safely.

Reckless Driving Laws in NY

There are consequences for reckless driving in New York, It is classified as a misdemeanor under the code section (NY Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1212).


  • First offense: up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $100 to $300.
  • Second offense: up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $100 to $525.
  • Third offense: up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $100 to $1,125.

Not to mention that if they also provoke a crash where serious injuries are met, they may face extra charges, and of course will be liable for the injuries they may cause, assuming that the cost of it is over the insurance coverage and that the victims file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

What’s the Difference between Reckless and Careless Driving?

The difference between both terms is based on the driver’s intention. Both forms of driving can lead to accidents, injury to other people or the driver. However, there are distinctions between the two terms. Let’s dive into:

Reckless driving involves a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others. That means that they are conscious and show intentional indifference to the potential consequences of their actions.

Characteristics of a reckless driver:

  • Excessive Speeding: Speeding over the speed limit on any road or highway.
  • Aggressive Maneuvers: Abruptly changing lanes without signaling or cutting off other vehicles is considered an aggressive maneuver.
  • Street Racing: Unauthorized race on the public highway, puts oneself and others at significant risk. There is a special place to race others, racing on public roads is illegal and dangerous.
  • Intoxicated or Impaired Driving: Having a blood-alcohol percentage of 0.08 or above is against New York law and is known as a factor decreasing the reaction time of a driver that may lead the driver to a reckless driving accident.
  • Ignoring Traffic Control Devices: Traffic signals, stop signs, or other road signs.
  • Reckless Overtaking: Attempting to pass other vehicles in dangerous situations, such as on curves, double yellow lines, or when visibility is limited.
  • Engaging in Stunts or Exhibition Driving: Performing dangerous maneuvers or stunts on public roads, such as drifting, burnouts, or sudden acceleration. Yes, they are fun, but if it’s done in a safe environment could be better and will keep you off trouble.
  • Reckless Evading or Fleeing from Law Enforcement: Trying to evade police officers by driving recklessly, disregarding traffic laws, and endangering others on the road. So for your own safety and others, just pull over when a police officer asks you to.

On the other hand, careless driving which is also known as negligent driving, involves the lack of attention or failure to execute reasonable care while driving. So, it refers to unintentional or inadvertent behavior that may still pose a danger to others

Characteristics of a careless driver:

  • Failure to Signal: Neglecting to use turn signals when changing lanes, making turns, or merging into traffic, can lead to confusion and potential accidents.
  • Inattentive Driving: Being distracted while driving, such as by using electronic devices, eating, grooming, or engaging in any activity that diverts attention away from the road.
  • Following Too Closely: Also known as tailgating, is dangerous not maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. A good rule of thumb is that you must see the back tires of the vehicle in front of you.
  • Failure to Yield Right of Way: Whenever you are entering a principal road you have to obey the signal and give the right of way to other vehicles, also don’t forget the right of way for pedestrians or cyclists as required by traffic laws and road conditions.
  • Improper Lane Usage: Drifting between lanes without signaling or weaving in and out of traffic without a valid reason can create hazardous situations for other drivers.
  • Speeding within Reasonable Limits: If there are bad weather conditions, there is a portion of the road being under repair, or there is not enough light, even though the speed limit is 80 mph, as common sense you should diminish your speed so you can have more control of your vehicle.
  • Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance: You are in charge of the car maintenance, if you fail to change faulty brakes, lights, or other essential components, you may provoke a car accident.
  • Failure to Check Blind Spots: Always when changing lanes you must detect other drivers on the road, and need to remember that there are other vehicles such as large trucks that may not see you due to the vehicle dimensions.
  • Improper Turns or U-Turns: This is another way to fail traffic signs, you should only U-turn when is indicated.

It is valid to mention that some states may define reckless driving and careless driving as the same thing and different states have their own coding, penalties, and classification.

Consequences of Reckless Driving

The consequences of reckless driving could go from property damage to serious injuries, legal charges, fines, and time imprisonment.

Property damage

Property damage from an accident caused by reckless driving can add up quickly. Examples of this damage include the destruction of walls, public signs, fences, and vehicles. The person responsible for the accident will have to pay for the total costs.

Serious Injuries

The NHTSA has issued a new definition of serious injuries. This definition must be used by all states after April 15, 2019. Serious injuries include any injury that is not fatal and results in one or more of the following:

  • Severe laceration resulting in exposure of underlying tissues/muscle/organs or resulting in significant loss of blood
  • Broken or distorted extremity (arm or leg)
  • Crush injuries
  • Suspected skull, chest, or abdominal injury other than bruises or minor lacerations
  • Significant burns (second and third-degree burns over 10% or more of the body)
  • Unconsciousness when taken from the crash scene
  • Paralysis

Causes of Reckless Driving

There may be multiple causes that lead drivers to reckless driving. People are immersed in their thoughts, full of the stress of their work or personal problems they may have. Drivers could be provoking this type of accident without knowing. When they find out the cause, it is too late to prevent it.

Distractions from mobile devices and other passengers in the vehicle can be dangerous. The driver must keep their full attention on the road at all times.

The road can bring unexpected challenges. Obstacles or slippery oil spots can appear suddenly. Drivers must stay alert and keep their eyes on the road at all times.

Being impaired while driving is another cause of reckless driving accidents, alcohol, and drugs are not a good combination with driving. Even some prescription medications could get people drowsy and provoke an accident.

People can be too impatient. They rush and make unsafe decisions that put others at risk.

People who recently got their license may be tempted to try stunts they have seen in movies. This can be a dangerous formula. They don’t have the expertise or the safe environment to do them safely.

People seek validation from others. To gain this, they may do dangerous stunts. This can lead to death or serious injuries, and can also hurt other people.

Neglecting car maintenance is a dangerous behavior. People must address or rectify any mechanical issues on their vehicles as soon as possible to prevent accidents.

It is important to remember that the causes of reckless driving can differ from person to person. Often, there are multiple reasons why an incident may occur. Promoting awareness, education, and responsible driving habits can help mitigate reckless driving and improve road safety.

Contact a New York City Reckless Driving Accident Lawyer

Suspect you were involved in an accident due to recklessly driving by the at-fault car? The Ward Law Group, PL is here to help. We offer the finest and most experienced reckless driving accident lawyers. They can assist you with your case.

Call us now at 855-DOLOR-55 for a free consultation. One of our lawyers will assist you right away. They will clear any doubt or concern you may have.

The Ward Law Group, PL has over 25 years of experience servicing the New York community in car accident lawsuits. We understand your situation and are available to listen to you in English or Spanish. Contact us now.