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New York Reckless Driving Accident

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 careless driver.

The Ward Law Group 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.

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 poses a risk to 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 nighttime light, which helps them navigate safely.

Reckless Driving Laws in NY

Reckless driving has consequences 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 $100 to $300 fine.
  • Second offense: up to 90 days in jail and a $100 to $525 fine.
  • Third offense: up to 180 days in jail and a $100 to $1,125 fine.

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 and 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 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 aggressive.
  • Street Racing: An 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 limited visibility.
  • 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 done in a safe environment, they can be better and keep you out of 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 safety and others, pull over when a police officer asks you to.

On the other hand, careless driving, also known as negligent driving, involves the lack of attention or failure to execute reasonable care while driving. So, it refers to unintentional or accidental behavior that may still threaten 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, it is dangerous not to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. A good rule of thumb is to see the car's back tires in front of you.
  • Failure to Yield Right of Way: Whenever you enter a principal road, you must 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 traffic laws and road conditions require.
  • 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, a portion of the road is under repair, or there is not enough light, even though the speed limit is 80 mph, it is common sense to diminish your speed so you can have more control of your vehicle.
  • Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance: You are in charge of 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: You must detect other drivers on the road. It would be best to remember that other vehicles, such as large trucks, may not see you due to their dimensions.
  • Improper Turns or U-turns are another way to fail traffic signs. You should only U-turn when indicated.

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

Consequences of Reckless Driving

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

Property damage

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

Serious Injuries

The NHTSA has issued a new definition of serious injuries. All states must use this definition 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 provoke this type of accident without knowing it. When they discover 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 present unexpected challenges, such as obstacles or slippery oil spots that can appear suddenly. Drivers must always stay alert and keep their eyes on the road.

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 severe injuries and can also hurt other people.

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

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 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 has over 25 years of experience servicing the New York community in car accident lawsuits. We understand your situation and can listen to you in your mother language. Contact us now.