Reckless Driving Accidents
Human error is behind most car accidents in the US. Drivers often make mistakes such as failing to pay attention to the road or following too closely. In some cases, however, a driver goes beyond simple negligence and into recklessness. A reckless driver is one who knowingly breaks the rules or drives dangerously with a wanton disregard for the safety of others. Reckless driving causes thousands of serious and fatal auto accidents annually.
What is Reckless Driving?
Most states have similar definitions of reckless driving. Arizona Revised Statute 28-693 gives the state’s definition of reckless driving as the operation of a vehicle in a reckless disregard for the safety of other people or property. Reckless driving is a Class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona. The penalty for committing a reckless driving offense is driver’s license suspension for 90 days. Two or more violations can lead to a Class 1 misdemeanor with 24 months of license suspension and a minimum of 20 days in jail. Many driver actions and behaviors could constitute reckless driving in Arizona.
- Drunk driving
- Wet reckless driving
- Drugged driving
- Drag racing
- Weaving between lanes
- Illegal passing
- Red-light running
- Road rage
- Evading the police
A driver could cause an accident in Arizona by committing any act or omission that a reasonable driver would not under similar circumstances. To exceed negligence and constitute reckless driving, however, a driver must do something that could knowingly injure others. This can range from driving a vehicle with known dangerous flaws to texting and driving. If a driver causes a car accident while reckless driving, he or she could face criminal charges on top of a traffic infraction. Reckless driving could lead to charges such as vehicular manslaughter after a fatal collision, for example.
How Many Car Accidents Per Year in the US Are Due to Reckless Driving?
Reckless and dangerous driver habits are major causes of car accidents in the US. While it is difficult to calculate the precise number of accidents per year due to reckless driving, the Insurance Information Institute reported a total of 52,274 drivers cited for reckless driving behaviors in 2017. Most of these citations (about 17%) were for speeding. Other statistics have shown about 56% of total fatal crashes stem from aggressive or reckless driving annually.
Speeding is the most common type of reckless driving behavior. It is a contributing factor in about one-third of all traffic-related deaths annually. In 2018, speeding alone took almost 9,400 lives in the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Speeding can make it impossible for a driver to safely react to changing roadway situations, such as a crossing pedestrian or changing traffic light. It can also increase the risk of a car accident due to loss of vehicle control. A crash while speeding can cause more significant injuries than a slower moving collision.
How a Lawyer Can Help After an Accident Caused by a Reckless Driver
Reckless driving is a preventable offense that endangers the lives of everyone on the road. It can lead to catastrophic and fatal traffic accidents in Phoenix, including head-on collisions, rollovers and wrong-way crashes. If a reckless driver caused the crash that injured you or took a loved one’s life, you may need a Phoenix car accident lawyer to assist you with the claims process. A lawyer can help you with all the steps of bringing a claim to damages, including gathering evidence against the at-fault driver.
Evidence of reckless driving often comes in the form of police reports. It is important to call the police from the scene of a serious car accident so they can investigate its cause and cite the at-fault driver for any infractions, such as reckless driving. Evidence can also include photographs, crash damage analyses, eyewitness statements and expert testimony. A lawyer can help you present evidence to an insurance provider and/or court proving the other driver’s fault. Proving reckless driving could lead to compensation for your damages.