What Causes Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is one of the most common causes of fatal car accidents in Virginia. Reckless drivers have a wanton disregard for the safety of others. They may intentionally break rules and violate traffic laws without any regard as to whether they endanger the lives of others. Recklessness goes beyond simple negligence. It is a crime in most states. If you get into an accident with a reckless driver, he or she may owe you financial compensation for your damages. A lawyer who specializes in reckless driving cases can help.
Alcohol or Drugs
A driver under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is more prone to reckless driving behaviors than others. These substances can impair a driver’s ability to make safe judgment calls. They can also release inhibitions and boost confidence, often leading to reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, racing, running red lights and driving the wrong way.
In 2017 (the most recent year data is available), 7,285 traffic accidents were alcohol-related in Virginia. These accidents caused 4,430 injuries and 248 deaths. Driving under the influence is a type of reckless driving that a safe and prudent driver would not commit. If a drunk driver crashed into you in Virginia, he or she may owe you compensation for your injuries and damages on top of facing criminal charges.
Some reckless driving behaviors come from driver inexperience and peer pressure – especially among teen drivers. Young or new drivers may not understand the dangers of willful or wanton driving offenses such as speeding. They do not have enough driving experience to recognize how deadly reckless driving can be. They may engage in behaviors such as excessive speeding, drag racing, driving without headlights, red-light running, making unsafe lane changes, distracted driving or running from the police due to peer pressure or inexperience. A young reckless driver could destroy lives – including his or her own – by wantonly breaking roadway rules.
Many reckless driving behaviors come from frustrated, angry, aggressive or road rage drivers in Virginia. Drivers experiencing road rage could make dangerous choices such as tailgating, brake-checking, honking, flashing lights, speeding, passing too closely or weaving between lanes. A road rage driver could allow his or her anger to cloud judgment and lead to bad decision making behind the wheel. This could ultimately cause a catastrophic auto accident. If an angry or aggressive driver causes a preventable car accident, he or she may be liable for damages.
Speeding is one of the most common types of reckless driving involved in deadly accidents in Virginia. Speeding could fulfill the definition of reckless driving if the driver surpasses 80 miles per hour or more than 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. Speeding is most common in drivers who are impatient and/or running late. It is often avoidable by leaving earlier to get to one’s destination. Driving too fast for conditions can lead to high-speed collisions with catastrophic or fatal injuries. Running late could also lead to other types of reckless driving, such as passing a school bus, passing an emergency vehicle, passing on a hill or corner, or passing at a railroad crossing.
The Consequences of Reckless Driving
It is every driver’s responsibility to avoid reckless driving. All drivers in Virginia have a duty to obey roadway laws and drive safely. Breaching this duty of care could lead to reckless driving charges and penalties such as fines, driver’s license suspension and/or jail time. If a driver’s reckless behaviors behind the wheel cause an accident, the at-fault driver could face civil penalties as well as criminal charges. Civil liability for a reckless driving accident will mean the driver owes all victims financial compensation. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, he or she may have to pay out of pocket. If you were in a reckless driving accident in Virginia, consult with an attorney about your rights.