Reckless driving creates substantial dangers on highways across the United States. Speeding is a big cause of this.
While many drivers understand the importance of responsible driving, unfortunately, many others take risks that endanger others. Driving provides countless advantages and opportunities, as well as joy and the freedom of the open road. But it is important to understand the risks associated with speeding reckless driving. Otherwise, you may end up having to retain an experienced attorney like Andrew Flusche – Virginia reckless driving lawyer to represent your case.
Below are some of the most important statistics to keep in mind to avoid reckless driving and keep the roads safe.
What Is Reckless Driving?
Knowing what is considered reckless driving can help you avoid bad driving behaviors and identify speeding reckless driving behaviors in others to protect yourself and your passengers.
Reckless driving definitions vary by state. In Virginia, reckless driving occurs when a person speeds or operates a vehicle in a manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of another person.
Some examples of reckless driving include:
- Speeding in excess of 80 mph
- Passing or overtaking an emergency vehicle
- Passing a school bus
- Passing on the crest of a hill
- Failing to give a proper signal
Reckless driving can also include driving under the influence and distracted driving. Although both distracted driving and DUI are separate offenses, they can also be considered reckless driving if the behavior endangers another person.
Reckless Driving Causes More Than Half of All Car Accident Fatalities
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks car crash statistics, including driving behaviors and common causes of accidents.
In 2018, the NHTSA reported 51,490 fatal crashes. Reckless driving behavior caused the majority of those deaths. Driving too fast for conditions caused nearly 17% of the fatalities on its own. And with the rise in cell phone use and other distractions, many drivers take their eyes off the road for extended periods.
Even if you practice safe driving habits, others on the road may not. Drivers should understand the prevalence and dangers of reckless driving so they can protect themselves and their passengers.
One in Four Drivers Used a Cell Phone Right Before a Crash
Increased cell phone use has made the road a more dangerous place. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for approximately five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s the length of an entire football field.
And in 2018, the NHTSA reported that one in four drivers used a cell phone immediately before they were involved in a crash. Texting while driving increases the chances of crashing by 28 times.
In states like Virginia, using a cell phone while driving is its own traffic violation. But a court may also consider it reckless driving. Texting and other distractions create serious dangers while driving and should be avoided.
Reckless Driving Can Cost Between $300 and $1000 or More
Reckless driving convictions carry serious legal and financial consequences.
Reckless driving in Virginia can cost between $300 and $1000 in fines. This does not include paying for an attorney, court costs, fees, and any driving classes the court may order. In addition, if you are convicted of reckless driving, the court may suspend your license.
If you are caught racing and convicted of reckless driving, the statute requires the judge to suspend your license for at least six months, up to two years. On top of court-imposed suspensions, reckless driving violations are six-point violations.
The Virginia DMV, like all states, uses a points system to track license holders’ risky driving behavior. If you receive too many points, the DMV may suspend your license. Drivers under 18 can lose their license for a six-point violation. So one reckless driving charge is enough to suspend your license.
Motor Vehicle Crashes Are the Leading Cause of Teen Deaths in the U.S.
Turning sixteen and getting a license is a pivotal moment in many people’s lives. Driving a car brings a newfound sense of freedom and opportunity for a young adult.
But driving is a dangerous activity, and teens are at high risk for injuries or deaths caused by car accidents.
In 2019, the CDC reported that car crashes are the leading cause of teenage deaths in the United States. Teen drivers between 16 and 19 years old are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers over 20.
Several factors contribute to this, such as:
- One in three teen drivers admitted they text while driving;
- Teens are more likely to drive at excessive speeds; and
- Teens drink and drive and make unsafe decisions.
Young drivers also struggle to manage distractions, such as other passengers in the car. Teen passengers create significant distractions that prevent the teen driver from reacting to road conditions and other drivers.
If you are a teen driver or have kids who have just earned their license, understanding the risks of reckless driving might help to save their lives.
Reckless Driving Increases Insurance Costs By an Average of 70%
All traffic tickets impact the cost of car insurance. But certain violations, such as reckless driving, are particularly expensive.
When a driver receives a traffic ticket, their insurance company views the driver as a higher risk. This means that the insurance company views the driver as more likely to cause a car crash or be involved in some type of accident for which the insurance company will have to pay a claim. Thus, the insurance company will typically charge more to cover drivers with one or more traffic violations. And the more serious the traffic violation, the higher the insurance rate.
Reckless driving involves particularly dangerous driving behaviors. Crashes resulting from reckless driving often involve greater property damage, serious physical injuries, and greater costs overall. Thus, on average, reckless driving convictions raise insurance rates by 70%, or $1,084. Further, speeding reckless driving charges can affect insurance rates for years and can cost more than the actual ticket.