What Is Reckless Driving?

What Is Reckless Driving?While it may seem harmless to speed a little when you’re running late (or fun to race cars with your friends), these are both examples of pretty serious traffic violations because of the lives you’re putting at risk.

According to Nevada state law, when someone drives with a deliberate disregard of safety for themselves, other people, or other people’s property, it’s considered reckless driving and can come with some significant charges. It also leaves that driver open to a civil lawsuit if he or she hurts someone in a car crash.

The Insurance Information Institute released statistics stating that in 2020, the most common behaviors reported for drivers involved in fatal crashes were driving too fast for the conditions, excessively speeding, or racing—all of which can be charged as reckless driving. Since reckless driving is pretty vaguely defined by the Nevada state law and is often left up to the discretion of police officers, let’s dive into some examples:

  • Speeding excessively—or going any speed over the limit for that matter—can be considered reckless driving, but it’s ultimately up to the police officers to determine whether the speed someone is traveling was endangering people or not. The higher the rate of speed, the more likely the driver is to lose control of the vehicle and cause a collision.
  • Drag racing. It’s also clearly defined in the Nevada state law that planning, scheduling, or driving in an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway, like drag racing, falls under reckless driving.
  • Eluding a police vehicle. While eluding a police officer is a completely separate charge, reckless driving can also be tacked on depending on the circumstances. If a police officer has their lights and sirens on, fleeing from the police can be considered a form of reckless driving.
  • Tailgating, or driving too closely behind another car, is another example of reckless driving. Drivers must leave ample room between themselves and another car while traveling.
  • Weaving in and out of traffic. There’s nothing wrong with changing lanes on the highway to get around some cars or traffic. However, weaving in and out of traffic repeatedly can be extremely dangerous. Zig-zagging between cars is an aggressive form of driving and puts everyone on the road at risk of getting into an accident because of this erratic behavior, and it can even potentially lead to other drivers getting road rage and driving unsafely.
  • Running a red light. It’s apparent that the driver was not focused on the road if they run a red light. Not only is it illegal for the driver to pass through an intersection after the light has turned red, it’s also incredibly dangerous. Running a red light can lead to serious accidents, with a lot of them being fatal depending on speed.

What types of accidents are caused by reckless drivers in Las Vegas?

A reckless driver is most likely to cause:

  • Rear-end crashes
  • Sideswipe accidents
  • T-bone collisions
  • Intersection accidents
  • Multi-car pileups

Depending on where the driver is, the people most at risk may change. Any driver on the road is at risk, of course, but reckless drivers are more likely to hit pedestrians or cyclists when they are on local or urban roads, as neither pedestrians nor cyclists are allowed on major highways. Motorcycle riders can also be injured in a crash, as even “good” drivers tend to ignore motorcycle riders.

What kinds of injuries do reckless drivers cause?

People often think that the severity of a victim’s injuries are commensurate with the severity of the crash, but that’s not always the case: it is possible for a person to be fatally injured in a wreck that others walk away from just like it’s possible to walk away from an accident that should have been fatal. (Indeed, drunk drivers and Subaru ads have a history of the latter.)

Depending on the incident, reckless drivers can cause accidents leading to:

  • Brain trauma
  • Spine and spinal cord trauma
  • Head trauma
  • Multiple compound, complex fractures
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Limb loss
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Burn injuries
  • Road rash

What kinds of damages can I seek in a lawsuit against a reckless driver?

If you were injured in a crash with a reckless driver, you can seek damages for:

  • Medical expenses, including the costs associated with long-term care and rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages, including the loss of any future income if your injuries leave you permanently disabled and unable to work.
  • Pain and suffering, including physical and mental anguish and trauma.
  • Property losses, including the cost of repairs to your vehicle.

In some cases, you may also be entitled to exemplary, or punitive, damages. These types of damages are designed to “punish a wrongdoer who acted with “conscious disregard” for their actions – “the knowledge of the probable harmful consequences of a wrongful act and a willful and deliberate failure to act to avoid those consequences.” In a case where you are injured by a drunk driver or a drag racer, or someone texting and driving, you could be entitled to them. This is one of the issues that we can discuss with you during your consultation.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, our car accident attorneys in Las Vegas and Reno can help. Call the office of Claggett & Sykes Law Firm in Las Vegas at 702-333-7777, or fill out our contact form. Or, if you have suffered an injury in northern Nevada, call our Reno car accident attorneys at 775-322-2923.