What is Reckless Driving in California?

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What is Reckless Driving in California?

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Posted By DAM Firm | November 2 2023 | California Laws, Car Accidents

Under California law, reckless driving is an offense punishable by law. If we examine California Vehicle Code [CVC] §23103(a), we can see that it is illegal to operate a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others and property. Violation of this state reckless driving statute is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a possible fine of up to $1,000.

Here, we want to examine the reckless driving statute in California as well as discuss some examples of reckless driving common throughout our area of the state.

What is Reckless Driving in California

Reckless Driving in California

Reckless driving is more than a simple speeding ticket. The court will have some type of discretion when determining whether or not a person was engaging in reckless behavior at the time of a traffic stop. However, the following types of activities are typically regarded as reckless driving, and they can lead to serious injuries or property damage:

  • Operating at excessive speeds
  • Racing
  • Purposely swerving across lanes
  • Intentionally driving with defective brake lights or headlights
  • Disregarding traffic signals or traffic signs
  • Tailgating other drivers
  • Illegal passing activities
  • Texting or talking on the phone while driving
  • Browsing the internet, taking selfies, or recording videos while driving
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road or in areas where cars are not allowed

These are all some of the activities that could be considered “reckless driving,” but they do not represent a complete list. 

Aside from the ancient $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail, individuals could have their vehicle impounded for up to 30 days. Those convicted of reckless driving may also need to complete probation. Individuals who have a previous reckless driving charge or who caused an injury as a result of their reckless driving may face more severe penalties.

Reckless Driving and Your Personal Injury Claim

Reckless driving could certainly impact a personal injury claim. If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury or proper damage caused by the actions of a reckless driver in California, you may be entitled to compensation. However, proving liability can be challenging, even if you know the actions of the other driver were reckless.

There are various ways to determine liability in these situations. This includes gathering evidence from the scene of the incident, as well as examining any citations law enforcement officials write to the parties involved. If a driver was cited for reckless driving or even arrested for reckless driving, this would likely become evidence used against that driver in any personal injury claim.

We encourage you to reach out to a skilled car accident attorney in Orange County who can walk you through this entire process. Your attorney will examine the facts of the case and help you determine the best steps moving forward for recovering compensation after a reckless driving accident.

Some of the compensation typically available and a successful personal injury claim against a reckless driver include coverage of medical bills associated with the incident, property damage expenses, lost wage recovery, and pain and suffering damages. There is no set amount of compensation paid to individuals in these circumstances. We encourage you to speak to your attorney about the expected recovery amounts.

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